Jersey RFC gunning for win over Winchester

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THE prosecco corks may have been popped in muted celebration but it was just another day in the office for head coach Myles Landick and his Jersey RFC team as they clinched what was seemingly inevitable from the first game.

In their last away game of the season, the men in red put in a typical demolition display, beating Eastleigh 80-14 to seal the Counties 1 Hampshire – London & SE Division title.

Four tries were scored by George Willmott, three by Jack Macfarlane, both ex-professionals, plus doubles from young guns Eryk Swiech and Anushan Elanco, making Jersey the highest try scorers across the land, and across all divisions, in English rugby, with 151. The win put them on 100 points – a 100% record – with one game left to play, a homecoming celebration against second-place Winchester this Saturday.

Next season, they will be put in a Regional 2 division to be confirmed – tier six of the English rugby union league system – and will expect much tougher encounters than they have seen in their inaugural campaign.

They will be champing at the bit.

Not that Landick is looking any further than this Saturday.

‘The big one for us is this weekend at home. I think this will be one of our biggest tests of the season and our focus is on that,’ he said.

After that, there is also the small matter of the Siam Cup on 6 May in front of a home crowd. Jersey took a tonking in the double-header last spring, losing 62-26 and 52-02 and Landick will be keen to get his boys prepped and ready to wrestle back the world’s second-oldest rugby trophy.

Guernsey Raiders play in the fourth tier National League 2 and represent quite a step up from the standards that Jersey have been facing this past half-year, so friendly matches have been arranged against tier-five club Oxford Harlequins and Cinderford United, a National League 1 second team.

‘We’ve got the Siam and the Fallaize [for second XVs] this year so it’s not just one selection to focus on but everyone as a group and we will have the same thought process about how we want to play throughout,’ said Landick.

‘We’ve got plenty of time to look at how we’re playing. There’s certain aspects of the game that we will use against Guernsey that we haven’t been able to use, just purely because sometimes when you’re breaking tackle at the first phase you don’t get to go through some of the bits and pieces that you want to.

‘We’ve got a decent run now and we can start looking at how we go about the game against Guernsey.

‘But I don’t want to put too much pressure on the players. We are an amateur squad that plays three leagues lower than Guernsey, who are a semi-professional side at level four. All we can do is prepare as well as we can do for the game.’

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