Biljon promises celebrations at St Peter tomorrow
JERSEY REDS will attempt to make a final improvement to another record-breaking campaign without departing lock Jerry Sexton tomorrow – his first league absence in 44 games.
The Irishman has been left out of Harvey Biljon’s starting XV for a Championship game for the first time since his arrival in August 2017, just two days after having his impending move to South African PRO14 side Southern Kings confirmed.
Jersey host Coventry knowing they are already guaranteed a first-ever top-four finish in the second tier of English rugby, but will claim third on the final day if they better Bedford’s result at home to Nottingham.
The Reds sit one league point behind the Blues in the table but have a vastly superior match-points-difference over their rivals.
‘The Bedford result is out of our control and to be honest ... Nottingham playing away at Bedford ... it’s going to be tough,’ said Jersey director of rugby Biljon.
‘We know we’ve already achieved that top four and we’d like to celebrate the season with our supporters in the right way and enjoy where we are.
‘It’s a big day and we’d like to see as many people up there as possible to celebrate with us. Hopefully the players can turn up and put in one last performance in front of their supporters.’
Newly-promoted Coventry caused somewhat of an upset on the opening day of the season – beating Jersey 20-15 at Butts Park Arena – but Biljon believes that result actually brought a season’s worth of positives.
‘As much as we were disappointed to lose that game the team learnt things which made sure we were in a better position for the rest of the campaign,’ he said. ‘Especially when we went on that ten-game winning run – that all came because of those learnings.’
Discussing Sexton’s absence, he added: ‘We’d have liked to have seen Jerry off in the right way, but he’s teetering on the edge of whether he’s fit or not fit.’
Jersey Reds (provisional, 1-15): Roy Godfrey, Nick Selway, Leeroy Atalifo, Rory Bartle, Charlie Beckett, Jake Upfield, Kyle Hatherell, Janco Venter; Will Homer, Aaron Penberthy, Jack Stapley, George Eastwell, Apakuki Ma’afu, Leroy Van Dam, Brett Herron. Replacements: Harry Morley, Jack Mcfarlane, Ziana Alexis, Liam Hallam-Eames, Conor Joyce, Liam Howley, James Newey.
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