Eight newbies to start in Siam

RAIDERS have named eight new caps in the starting XV for Saturday’s bid to win the Centenary Siam.

Guernsey Raiders' men's Siam Cup squad. (Picture By Sophie Rabey, 30159578)
Guernsey Raiders' men's Siam Cup squad. (Picture By Sophie Rabey, 30159578)

And with potentially five more on the seven-man replacements bench, it adds up to the most inexperienced Guernsey Siam team in living memory – perhaps ever.

‘It is a bit crazy,’ admitted director of rugby Jordan Reynolds

‘In the 15 years I have been involved it is normally one or two per year, but after two years without a Siam there has been a lot of new faces, which is both exciting for us in the coaching team but also them.’

Ahead of last night’s official Siam shirt presentation, Reynolds said the group had already had a ‘pretty good chat’ about the game and ‘some of the older guys had spoken to the newcomers as to what the Siam is about’.

‘It was about getting a firm understanding of the emotion on Siam Cup day.’

Guernsey, who were unable to hand a first cap to injured flanker Oscar Baird, make eight changes to the starting XV which lost 29-19 to Jersey in May 2019.

That day the Caesareans caused a small furore in the GRFC camp by naming five professionals in their squad including match-winner Aaron Penberthy. They were supposed to be restricted to three.

But, 30 months on, the Jersey Reds are not expected to name any pros as those not involved in the club’s Championship game the same day do not meet the three-year continuous residency qualification period.

Reynolds dismisses talk of Raiders starting favourites and takes talk of Jersey suffering a string of injuries with a big pinch of salt.

‘What I will say is that in the history of the competition Guernsey have won 15, Jersey 61.

‘In the 15 years I have been around it did not matter whether Jersey had pros or not, we were always favourites. But the fact is we do not hold the trophy, so it is for us to get off them.’

Raiders XV (* denotes new cap)

Darrin Bellingham, Tom Ceillam, Jacob Pinkney *, Lewis Hillier (capt.), Brad Webb*, Hugo Culverhouse *, Dom Rice, Doug Horrocks; Charlie Simmonds *, Owen Thomas, Callum Roberts *, Ethan Smith *, Matt Armstrong *, Anthony Armstrong, Charlie Davies *.

Replacements: Charlie Currie *, TBA, Dan Morgan *, James Burger *, Dale Rutledge, Dan Rice *, Joe Andresen *.

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