HIGH energy will be a bear minimum for Jersey Reds on Saturday if they are to get the better of a side tipped to challenge them at the top of the Championship.
The Islanders open their home account against Coventry [3pm kick-off], with both sides looking to double up off the back of victories last weekend.
Reds director of rugby Harvey Biljon believes the Midlands outfit will be among the top four in the division this term and they are no strangers when it comes to winning at Stade Santander, having finished 20-17 up when they visited in May.
Biljon and Reds head coach Rob Webber have named an unchanged starting XV from the 36-21 win at Ampthill on Saturday, and make just one alteration on the bench. Tom Pittman comes in to replace fellow fly-half Brendan Cope, who is sidelined through injury.
‘It’s not as easy as it sounds to name the same team,’ Webber explained. ‘Everyone came through that Ampthill game well but it was quite a disjointed performance. We feel that the lads who played deserve another chance to show what they can do before we probably look at changes next week.
‘A lot of guys played well and a lot of guys tried really hard to play well, but Ampthill did a good spoiling job. We felt that it would be right to have continuity for this week.’
Coventry ended last season in eighth, having claimed fifth place in the ten-game, Covid-hampered season of 2020/21.
‘In that Covid season they were certainly one of the better teams,’ Webber added. ‘Last season, in the first half of the year they dropped off and then made some coaching changes and seemed to change their way of playing. Then they played really well. This will be a big challenge, for sure, and they beat us here last time.
‘We get into tactics often, but what we need to deliver is high energy and high work rate. When we have that look about us, we tend to do all right.
‘It’s our first home league game with points at stake, and every single point is crucial.’