First Team

PREVIEW: Jersey v Ealing Trailfinders – National 2 South – Saturday 23rd October

The Channel Islands are calling – Jersey RFC is the destination.

An impressive unbeaten record at their Rue das Landes ground in St Peters that stretches back to 2009 is what awaits the boys in Green and White, so far this season Jersey have beaten Worthing (21-10), Dings (35-15) and Lydney (32-25) at home.

Ealing’s experienced number 8 Mat Evans who joined this season from Cornish Pirates reflected on Ealing’s strong started to the season said “I am really enjoying my time at Ealing. The lads have been fantastic and made me feel welcome coming into the squad. It is still relatively early in our season, but I am happy with our start. We expect to perform every weekend at high levels, and bar periods in certain games, we have managed to achieve this. The next 2 weeks are crucial-if we can get 2 wins against Jersey and Old Albanians, then that will turn a good start to the season to a brilliant start."

Jersey were promoted last season to National 2 South after an impressive championship winning season in National 3, with 18 victories and only 1 defeat culminating in a Twickenham victory over Armthill . Their impressive home victory stretches back to September 2009, and its one that most teams look at in awe!

Jersey succumbed to their first defeat of this season last week against Richmond, and their Director of Rugby, Ben Harvey said to The Rugby Paper, that Richmond were good value for their win. “We didn’t deserve to win. We played badly last week (against Lydney) and won. We played worse this week and Richmond made us pay".

So a backlash could be on the cards for Ealing!

Skipper Ben Ward said, “Jersey have a very impressive home record over last few years and it’s a great challenge to go there and beat them. We have trained well this week, and go there looking to play our own style of rugby, and hopefully keep our defensive record going".

Jersey RFC – A history

Rugby has been played in Jersey since 1879 with breaks for war and the Nazi occupation but the modern era started when the club acquired the land for a permanent home near the airport in 1961; the original wooden clubhouse was built in 1964, its approximate location was in the middle of the Jersey Bowl car park. From the early 1970s, when tourism on the island was at its peak, Jersey attracted many of rugby’s top clubs who could combine a break from their regular fixtures with a game against the JRFC.

This period culminated with a very successful Centenary year in 1979, teams with international players came over to play and help celebrate this event – JPR Williams being one of the most famous! This decade left the club with an unequalled collection of plaques and memorabilia; teams coming from the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia (the beach guard connection) and Holland.

The current clubhouse was opened in September 1994 and corresponded approximately with the start of the leagues; then Jersey could not rely on random visiting sides and had to join the league in Hampshire. Our 1st XV has worked it’s way up to the National 2 South League but the travel costs are very high – JRFC relies heavily on functions and sponsorship to support this commitment.

In the summer of 2010 a new Stand was built between the 1st XV pitch and the Airport Road and an extra Clubhouse, with kitchen and bar, to the east of the main club facilities. This to provide amenities for the increasing number of spectators due to the success of the 1st XV.

Jersey in 2010

Six wins from 7 starts shows that Jersey mean business! They have had 3 wins at home and 3 on the road, and the loss to Richmond last weekend at The Athletic Ground.

The players to watch – Open side Steve O’Brian has 4 tries to his name, while centre Andy Henderson has bagged 3.

Full back Michael Le Bourgeois is their danger man when it comes to collecting points . He is their top points scorer with 74 (12 conversions, 15 penalties and 1 try). They have scored 21 tries so far this season, 11 from the backs and 9 from their forwards.
They are also well up the league table with yellow cards! Just behind Southend with 10, they have 7!

Obviously travelling to Jersey is no easy task as their home record testifies to, but its definitely somewhere Ealing are looking forward to going.

Matt Evans added “As a squad we are heading to Jersey to win a game of rugby. We have worked this week on preparing ourselves for a physical mentally-challenging fixture. There is no reason why we can’t go there and win: our squad, in all honesty, is better than Jerseys. If we believe in ourselves and stick to the game plan put in place I believe we should be coming home with 4, hopefully 5 points in the bag."

Recent fixtures between Jersey & Ealing Trailfinders

This is the first fixture between the two clubs at league level.