'Jersey Reds need a home win’
HARVEY BILJON is determined to treat Jersey Reds fans to their first home win of the new decade on Friday night – and inflict further woe on Yorkshire Carnegie as a result.
The Reds have endured a stop-start season so far, picking up five wins from nine without absorbing back-to-back league defeats, and last weekend’s 23-10 reverse to Cornish Pirates at Stade Santander leaves them searching for the ignition key once again.
Cash-strapped Carnegie released almost their entire playing squad from their contracts last season to avoid collapse and have mustered just one point from nine successive defeats so far this term. Their visit to St Peter will surely be among the fixtures pencilled in by director of rugby Biljon for a bonus-point win.
‘Without being disrespectful to Yorkshire, this week does give us an opportunity to give our players a chance to show us why they should be playing for us,’ said Biljon. ‘It gives us an opportunity to go back to basics and focus on our own detail.
‘But let’s be honest, it wasn’t long ago that we were in the same position as Carnegie are now. We understand they’ll be coming to Jersey wanting to get something out of it, whether that be a win or a point.
‘I expect it to be emotionally charged and it’s a Friday night, which always brings a bit of an edge. I really enjoy Friday night games.
‘We just need to get back to winning ways at home. We won’t hide away from that.’
Ziana Alexis is perhaps the one to benefit the most from the squad rotation, with the prop set for his first competitive start for Jersey (14 months after joining the club) and his first league appearance since October.
Biljon said: ‘Zi is the one who stands out this week. He’s shown huge promise and potential, let’s see if what he’s been learning over the last six-to-12 months comes to fruition with a solid performance. He deserves a shot and it’s a great opportunity for him.’
Elsewhere, number 8 Janco Venter is absent in favour of Max Argyle, although Reds staff say the swap is tactical, not enforced. The Namibia World Cup cap failed an HIA assessment last weekend, having been illegally clattered by the now-suspended Cornish Pirates back-row John Stevens.
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