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London Irish Match Preview: Jersey Reds (A)

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Fixture: Jersey Reds vs London Irish

Competition: Pre-season friendly

Date: 27th August 2022

Kick-off: 3pm

Stadium: Stade Santander International

Capacity: 5,000

 

Another fixture, another new season- London Irish are back in action this forthcoming Saturday for a trip to the Channel Islands to face Championship side Jersey Reds in the Club’s first pre-season friendly.

The Exiles return to St. Peter for the first time since a spell in the Championship in the 2018/19 season, where honours were even, each a home win, in a split of league meetings that campaign.

Having finished last season in fourth, Jersey achieved their highest league positioning since Irish’s departure from the second tier after back-to-back sixth-place finishes.

Reds amassed their highest points haul in the Championship (69 points) since their promotion to the division a decade ago, with their biggest winning margins coming against capital side London Scottish both in the league (40 points) and cup (47) competitions.

Harvey Biljon, coach in Jersey since midway through the 2013/14 season, recently committed to a seven-year deal at the Stade Santander International.

The island took on current Gallagher Premiership champions Leicester Tigers on home soil last weekend, and following on from a 7-17 loss last season, ran the Midlanders close in a 26-35 defeat.

The boss- Harvey Biljon:

Upon conclusion of the 2021/22 season, Biljon committed to the aforementioned lengthy deal to keep him at the Championship Club until the summer of 2029.

The 45-year-old, a previous attack coach at another second-tier outfit Cornish Pirates before his time in Jersey, led Reds to their best ever finish in the Championship last term and into the top four.

He navigated the Club past relegation relegation in the 2013/14 term with a 41-31 win over Bedford Blues, going on to attain 3 league and cup wins against Irish in the former’s two spells in the Championship in 2017 and 2018.

A South-African native, he was born in Kariega and represented Natal Sharks’ under-21 side as a youth player.

The former scrum-half spent time as a player in the Premiership as a member of Wasps’ squad, joining in the year 2000 and remaining for six years.

One to Watch- Eoghan Clarke:

Jersey Reds have a points-scoring hooker of their own at their disposal, with Irishman Eoghan Clarke aiding in his Club having the highest points amassed in the Championship outside of champions Ealing Trailfinders (+596).

Clarke touched down 17 times in the 2021/22 Championship, a league-high that was matched only by Championship veteran Mark Bright of Richmond.

 

The 24-year-old is a former member of the Munster Academy, and moved over when in 2021 upon TJ Harris’ injury but has made a significant impact at the Club since.

He represented his country at under-20 age-grade level and also made five appearances for the Red Army’s A-side.

Classic Encounter: London Irish 42-29 Jersey Reds – 27th November 2016 – Championship

The Exiles put their Channel Island opponents to the sword at the Madejski Stadium in a 42-29 win in Reading back in 2016, but it was former player Guy Armitage who registered the first score of the meeting.

Front-row physicality from David Paice and Richard Palframan via rolling mauls saw Irish reply swiftly, with Paice going on to add a second in the second-half.

An injection of influence from the backs meant wingers Ben Ransom and Tom Fowlie got in on the act for Irish but Jersey did not walk away empty handed, nonetheless.

Marc Thomas, Nick Haining and George Watkins all added to Armitage’s earlier score on to bag a try bonus point, with the result making it 10 league wins from an available 10 for Irish at that stage of the season.

London Irish

Tries: David Paice (2), Richard Palframan, Ben Ransom, Tom Fowlie

Conversions: Tommy Bell (4)

Pens: Tommy Bell (2)

Drop-goal: Tommy Bell

Jersey Reds

Tries: Guy Armitage, Marc Thomas, George Watkins, Nick Haining

Conversions: Sam Katz (3)

Penalties: Sam Katz

Pre-match patter:

Jersey Reds Head Coach Harvey Biljon was full of praise for both sets of players after his side showed plenty of character to regain a foothold in the second half of a 26-35 loss to Leicester Tigers last weekend.

“A huge amount of character and resilience was shown by all the players,” Biljon stated post-match.

“Although it’s game one, there’s headaches already for the coaches.”

Reds held their Premiership counterparts to one try in the second forty whilst Lewis Wynne, James Hadfield and Ben Woollett, the latter two both debutants, all touched down for the home side.

Biljon looked ahead to the remainder of his side’s pre-season billing, which includes games against the Exiles and also Bath Rugby, and how the schedule will benefit the Championship side ahead of their league campaign.

“It’s a happy camp, they’re working hard but we’ve a long way to go.

“We can’t get too excited but what an absolute privilege it was to host the Premiership champions here in Jersey and I think we will definitely take a huge amount out of it, and I think they will too.

“It puts us in a great position going into the season- we’re definitely going to be tested each week and it’s going to be tough again next week with London Irish a team definitely on the up in the Premiership.”

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby


Premiership

Gloucester Rugby v Worcester Warriors will not go ahead as planned

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Gloucester Rugby

Following confirmation from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL) that Worcester Warriors have been suspended from all competitions, including the Gallagher Premiership, Gloucester Rugby’s Round 3 fixture versus the Warriors – scheduled for Saturday 1 October – will not go ahead as had been planned.

The Club awaits further information as to whether the fixture is cancelled or postponed and will update supporters as soon as possible thereafter.

Our thoughts go to Worcester Warriors players, staff and supporters following the news of their suspension from the league. We hope to see them return to the Premiership again soon. 

Open training this weekend

In absence of a fixture this weekend, Gloucester Rugby is opening the gates for supporters – regardless of whether they have a ticket to the Worcester fixture – to come and watch the first team train, followed by a signing session. 

Attendance is free although supporters will need a ticket for entry – simply click here to get yours.

Gates will open at 12pm with the training session running from 12.30-2pm. Following the conclusion of open training, a signing session will take place pitch-side, while Saracens v Leicester Tigers, live on BT Sport from 3pm, will also be available on the screens in the Stowford Press Clubhouse.

Next up at Holm

Bristol Bears will visit Kingsholm on Saturday 15 October and it promises to be a game not to miss! Tickets are available now from just £25 for adults and £15 for children. Click here to purchase.

For any enquiries please email [email protected]

Content & Images from – Gloucester Rugby


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Club Statement

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Worcester Warriors submit request for DCMS to appoint administrators

Worcester Warriors can confirm that WRFC Trading Limited, the company that owns the Worcester Warriors Premiership rugby club, has today asked DCMS to place the club into administration.

DCMS will now apply to the court to appoint administrators.

As negotiations with possible investors have still not led to critically-needed funding, administration is seen as the best solution to safeguard the interests of the business and ensure the best chances of a solution that saves the club.

It is hoped that this course of action will help to bring forward interested purchasers who may be able to preserve the club.

Once appointed, administrators will communicate with staff, supporters, partners, sponsors and creditors about timescales and processes to seek a purchaser.

Warriors owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham said: “We are grateful to DCMS and Sport England as the Covid19 loan Programme Manager for accepting our request to place the club into administration.

“Both the club and DCMS will continue to co-ordinate efforts to find a rescue for the club if there is any possibility of it being saved.

“The administrators will assess any rescue options for some or all of the business as and when offers are made, while ensuring public funds are protected.”

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Premiership

RFU issue statement on Worcester future

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RFU Statement: Worcester Warriors

The owners of Worcester Warriors have not met the RFU’s 5pm deadline to evidence insurance cover, availability of funds to meet the monthly payroll, and a credible plan to take the club forward. 

The RFU has therefore suspended Worcester Warriors from all competitions, including the Gallagher Premiership, Allianz Premier 15s, U18s Academy Cup and Allianz Cup with immediate effect.

Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO said;

“We appreciate this is incredibly difficult news for fans, staff and players.  We would like to thank the staff and players who have worked tirelessly over recent weeks to enable matches to continue.

“We met with players and staff last week to explain why this action would be necessary and regrettably without assurances in place we have had to take this action to protect everyone’s best interests. 

“We hope a buyer can be secured to allow Worcester Warriors and The University of Worcester Warriors to return to professional league rugby.  While it is the responsibility of each business owner to manage their individual finances, we will look at learnings from this situation to see what regulation can be put in place to provide all parties with more financial transparency.  Rugby is a relatively young professional sport and it has been widely recognised that clubs have been facing financial challenges even before Covid. 

“Successful professional leagues are vital for the wellbeing of the whole game.  They inspire current and future players, delight fans by showcasing high skill levels and the exciting nature of our game. This is why it is so important that we continue to work with Premiership Rugby to improve the structure, governance and business model of rugby union in England.

“The RFU will continue to support community rugby in Worcester and is fully committed to ensuring local academy opportunities are provided for pathway players.”

The RFU will work with Premiership Rugby and DCMS to establish next steps for the club and what this will mean for the Gallagher Premiership, the men’s Academy and Allianz Premier 15s competitions.


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