NOTTINGHAM will offer a very different challenge to the one posed last time Jersey Reds travelled to play them at Lady Bay, according to director of rugby Harvey Biljon.
That game in the Championship Cup, played just a month ago, ended with a comfortable win in atrocious conditions for the Reds.
But since then Nottingham have added to their squad and will call on players from Premiership champions Leicester Tigers to strengthen them further for Friday night’s clash under the floodlights.
Jersey go into the game on the back of eight successive league wins this season.
‘Friday night away from home is always a challenge,’ said Biljon.
‘You’ve got to take into consideration travel and the long day to wait before the game. The fact we played them a few weeks ago means we know the general Nottingham feel, but we also know they will probably have six Leicester Tigers players and a couple of late signings before Christmas too. It’s a different prospect to what we faced in the cup.’
Since losing to Jersey, the Archers have run league leaders Ealing Trailfinders close – going in to half time in the lead in their cup game – and pushed Bedford all the way in their last league outing, losing by a point on the road.
There are some familiar faces in the Nottingham team. They include former Reds in back Ryan Olowofela and powerful prop Dan Richardson, who is one of the Tigers’ players.
‘We know it will be a challenging evening, Nottingham are renowned for causing upsets on a Friday evening but our players know what’s coming and want to go there and perform.’
‘We know that every game will be a challenge and teams are lifting their performances against us because they are in good form, the playing squad all appreciate that.’
Jersey have ten players unavailable through injury and having a deeper squad than last season is now paying off.
‘The fact that we can continue with our training programme and pushing things has been great,’ Biljon added.