The Guernsey Rugby Association Select XV take on their Jersey counterparts in the Investec Inter-Insular at 12pm on Saturday at the old rugby club pitch. The trophy is currently the only senior CI rugby title held by the Caesareans after the Sarnians Siam Cup clean sweep at the end of last season, and both teams are naturally keen to get their hands on it.
The one-off annual match has somewhat become known as the ‘friendly Siam Cup’ in recent years, and whilst neither island has the ability to pick from various clubs any longer, both teams will be a good mixture of youth players and more established players amongst St Jacques Vikings and fringe Guernsey Raiders players and Jersey Royals and fringe Athletic players in Jersey, with eligibility criteria ensuring no players with over 4 appearances for the Raiders or Athletic are considered.
The Guernsey side will be coached by Vikings coaches Matt Chammings and Niel De Kock, whilst Jersey will be led by Jersey Athletic coach Myles Landick. Last season at Granville Guernsey led for much of the match before conceding three late tries to hand the trophy over to the Caesareans, they will want to ensure there is no repeat performance of that on Saturday. Guernsey will come into the match with confidence after the Vikings completed their league campaign unbeaten to lift the Sussex Two title last weekend, but as always will expect tough battle against Jersey.
The match is sponsored for the second of three years by Investec, and Managing Director Brendan Stewart is pleased the bank is able support this fixture once again.
“Investec has a strong history of supporting rugby around the world, and there are many synergies between rugby and our core values. This is one of the reasons we are pleased to continue to support both the Jersey & Guernsey Rugby Associations with this annual fixture and we are excited to see the outcome of the match. Last year was a very entertaining game and we hope for the same again this year. Investec is proud to support local sports in both Guernsey and Jersey and we wish the best of luck to both teams this weekend”
Guernsey coach Matt Chammings is expecting the clash to be a close affair, and believes his team will need to be at their best to see off Jersey.
“We are really excited for the Inter-Insular match this weekend, the Vikings have had a strong season but facing Jersey is always a step up, particularly in one-off matches like this. If last season is anything to go by it will be a tight match and it could come down to fine margins in the end. We have selected a side which has a good balance of youth and experience and if we can get our defensive systems right from the start and play with the right attitude I am confident we can lift the trophy.”
Leon Gardner the Vikings captain will lead the Guernsey side from the front-row, and he will be joined by Barney Paul and James Mroch. Brad Webb and Jacob Smith will pack down in the second-row whilst veteran Dave Harvey will be poised to bring his experience from the replacements bench. Mitch Smith who scored a try from deep in his own half last weekend will start on the flank, and he will be joined by veterans Viking James Regnard and Darrin Bellingham in the back-row.
Lucas Barker will start at scrum-half and he will pair up with Viking colleague Matt Lomas at fly-half. Both have been in fine form for the Vikings this season and they will hope that can continue against the Caesareans this weekend. Leon Collenette plays in centres this week after scoring two-tries last weekend and he will pair up with former Guernsey Raider and now veteran Jim Elliott. He will being vital experience to what is otherwise a fairly young backline, and will also be tasked with helping keep the Sarnians on the front foot.
On the wings Dave Davison make his first start since returning from travelling after making his debut for the Vikings against Brighton recently. The impressive duo of Cameron Le Prevost and Joe Le Roux complete the outside backs for the greens, with both producing excellent performance’s in recent weeks.
On the bench Guernsey Colt Tom Bray and Alan Myers will provide the front-row replacement options whilst Dave Harvey and Chris Croft will cover the rest of the forwards. Cashel Cahill provides the utility back cover along with winger James Strang who will be making his Inter-Insular debut. .
B Paul, L Gardner ©, J Mroch, B Webb, J Smith, M Smith, D Bellingham, J Regnard, L Barker, M Lomas, D Davison, L Collenette, J Elliott, C Le Prevost, J Le Roux Rep: A Myers, T Bray, D Harvey, C Croft, C Cahill, J Strang