Covid-hit Raiders backed by RFU

RAIDERS head to Westcombe Park for a couple of friendlies in south London on Saturday, minus one Covid-infected player and ‘one or two’ who refuse to be vaccinated.

Guernsey Raiders director of rugby Jordan Reynolds. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29864251)
Guernsey Raiders director of rugby Jordan Reynolds. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29864251)

But, according to head coach Jordan Reynolds, nothing is blocking their reintroduction into the National League, which is now just three weeks away.

‘Someone in the group tested positive at the weekend,’ said Reynolds yesterday.

‘We have all been tested and at the moment it it is all precautionary. The person has been isolating for a while now and we are waiting for our results.’

Reynolds admitted the positive case had ‘thrown up a few spanners’ but they are heading to the UK with a squad of 30 players for what is their first proper game in 20 months.

‘It is a Covid case identified early. It is no real concern and we are talking with the health authorities,’ he added.

But with the recent training ground fire which destroyed three shipping containers-worth of gear still fresh in the memory, the Covid case is another issue for Reynolds to deal with.

For all that, he is confident that their season will go ahead as scheduled with a run of away games to mark their initial return to National Two.

And a large reason why he is so confident is that the RFU have made it clear to all clubs in Raiders’ league that coming into Guernsey, all players must have been double-vaccinated or simply cannot travel and play.

In football terms, there is no suggestion that the Isthmian League will make the same demand for teams flying into the island, which is a concern for Guernsey FC.

Reynolds recognises that the existing CCA rules relating to incoming travel could cause issues for his own Raiders players who might test positive on return, but that is something they will deal with should it occur.

‘The hardest part for us is the guys who don’t work in an office. But if something does crop up [in terms of a positive Covid test], we will work with that.’

For now, Reynolds expects Westcombe Park to provide a strong test for his ring-rusty men and also for there to be some sore bodies on their return on Saturday evening.

‘We know them well and they are on the way up. They have quite a lot of new players and picked up some from National One.

‘The main thing for our guys is that without proper rugby for 20 months there will be a lot of rustiness. It will be a physical contest.’

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