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Biljon wary of wounded Yorkshire

Rugby | Published:

JERSEY REDS’ head coach Harvey Biljon recognises the danger that a ‘seriously talented’ Yorkshire Carnegie squad will pose on Friday night.

Aaron Penberthy is in line for a Championship start against Yorkshire Carnegie Picture: ROB CURRIE

The Reds’ aim to recover from a ‘rusty’ start to the season, but expected that desire to be matched by Carnegie’s determination to improve their own disappointing results.

Carnegie, expected to be promotion contenders, have suffered two heavy defeats in their last two outings, but Biljon remains wary of the off-colour outfit.

‘Im surprised by their results because it’s a serious squad – one that you’d be talking about being up there in first, second or third,' he said.

'Being where they are now means a tough test for us tomorrow night – we’re going to see a big reaction from them, they’ll want to set things straight.'

The Reds’ opening three Championship fixtures, all narrow defeats, have been away from Stade Santander. A tough start in anyone’s books.

But Biljon’s side are ready to launch their home campaign with a victory: ‘The boys can’t wait for the game. We’re all excited to play at home after a disjointed start – three away games and a bye weekend is frustrating when we’re trying to get going.

‘We love playing at home with the supporters banging the boards. Having everyone behind us makes a massive difference when we’ve been away as much as we have.’

Biljon, however, maintains that the start to the season has not been all disappointing, with the team’s performance away at London Scottish last weekend a case in point – falling short of Scottish 27-24, after opting to go for victory over a draw from a late penalty.

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He added: ‘There were more positives than negatives to come out of that game. We scored four tries away from home and had an opportunity to win.

‘The most important thing is that we are picking up points. Everyone is focusing on the losses, but we went to Bedford and got a point away from home, we went to Scottish and scored four tries. With a different bounce of the ball or a referee decision going our way, we’d have three wins’.

Nevertheless, he makes no excuses, putting injuries and mistakes down as ‘the nature of the beast’. Jersey have worked hard to remedy issues that have hurt them, and spirit remains high: ‘If there were key areas that needed to be addressed, rest assured they have been.

‘We acknowledge where we are but believe in what we are doing. The players and coaches have set goals which we believe are attainable, but it all starts with tomorrow night’.

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Aaron Penberthy will be returning to Championship action at Stade Santander, making his first start in the No 10 shirt since returning to the club from Ealing.

Talking of the changes – three in all since last week – Biljon said: ‘We decided to make changes before we went to Scottish, so the result was irrelevant as we knew we needed to rotate and change things up in a couple of areas. We need to let the boys know there is still competition for places and we hope it spurs them on in play.'

Jersey Reds (1-15): Roy Godfrey (c), Charlie Maddison, Leeroy Atalifo, Jerry Sexton, Dave McKern, Max Argyle, Conor Joyce, Janco Venter; Will Homer, Aaron Penberthy; Leroy Van Dam, Apakuki Ma’afu, James Newey, Koch Marx, Auguy Slowik. Replacements: Harry Morley, Nick Selway, Cameron Holenstein, Charlie Beckett, Rory Bartle, Calum Waters, Mark Best.

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