JERSEY RFC head coach Myles Landick hopes the Island’s current crop of amateurs can create ‘lifelong memories’ on the English league ranks – just as he did with Jersey Reds over a decade ago.
Formerly Jersey Reds Athletic – Jersey RFC have separated from the Reds in a bid to emulate the now-Championship side and progress up the rugby union pyramid.
The former prop’s outfit are set to enter the RFU’s league system in level seven this season – pending final approval from the governing body. If they are given the green light, they will join the newly-formed Counties 1 Hampshire Division, which will spell the end of their presence in the Raging Bull Shield; a standalone development league with no promotion or relegation.
Landick said: ‘It’s really exciting. When I look back on my journey through the system with the Reds, it meant so much to me and created memories with friends that I’ll cherish forever.
‘I have coached these guys for seven years now and the reason I pushed for this is so that they too can create their own bit of history. Who knows how far they could go.
‘It has been frustrating for me and the players to have sides pull out on us at the last minute, so being part of the rugby system gives us more structure and something to work towards.
‘The prospect of promotion and relegation alike gets the competitive juices flowing and I believe it is an opportunity that every single one of the lads will take in their stride.’
With the RFU’s league system undergoing an overhaul this summer, Jersey RFC are set to avoid being forced to start from scratch, at level 13.
And they will look to hit the ground running, after earning an historic Siam Cup win in November against bitter rivals Guernsey, who sit in level four.
‘I think the game against Guernsey proved the level these lads can play at,’ Landick said.
‘Obviously the fixtures played this year [two Siam defeats in May 2022] didn’t pan out that way, but level seven should be a nice starting point for us.
‘The prospect of potentially only being three years away from competing in the same league as Guernsey is something we can all get excited over.
‘That being said, we are venturing into the unknown and it’s hard to know what the next few seasons shall bring.’
However, there are also off-field implications.
‘The big implication of the move is funding and the fact the costs to us have doubled from last season,’ Landick explained.
‘The current sponsors have been incredible, even through the tough times without rugby, so we are hopeful that they will extend and we are working hard to ensure the costs of our first year on the ladder is covered.’
Jersey RFC will begin their new journey with a home fixture on 20 August against Oxford Quins, who play at level five.