The club’s professional squad, who suffered a 34-33 defeat away to Championship rivals Coventry last Saturday, are understood to be close to nailing down plans to play Cornish Pirates in Penzance next weekend as both sides continue preparations for the much-delayed 2020/21 campaign. Talks have progressed since an initial option to travel to the north-east, to play Newcastle Falcons’ A team, fell through.
Strict Covid-19 protocols are being enforced for all upcoming fixtures involving the Reds, who have been tested four times in the past ten days.
‘The Pirates trip will be pretty much the same format as the one we went to Coventry with,’ said Harvey Biljon, the Reds’ director of rugby. ‘The same protocols will be followed, but with the experience of having done it once before.
‘We’ll be looking to fly into Newquay, get coaches down to Penzance, play the game and come straight back.
‘I think it was really smooth on Saturday and everyone in the group has had two negative tests since we got back. We had a full-squad test last Monday [8 February], a full-squad test on Friday, another one on our return and also one on Tuesday. So far everything has been good, touch wood. The boys are all following the guidelines.’
Biljon also confirmed that former Aussie Rules professional Kurt Heatherley is completing a ten-day isolation period, having left the club’s Covid ‘bubble’ on Saturday to seek medical attention on a ‘severe’ shoulder injury. The winger fell awkwardly just two minutes into his debut and was taken to hospital in the West Midlands. The rest of Jersey’s squad are exempt from community quarantine measures, thanks to the government’s elite sport framework.
Heatherley is expected to be sidelined until April at the earliest.
Full story in Thursday's JEP.