While Guernsey are not in contention for promotion themselves, a week after facing off against current league leaders Redruth, the green-and-whites host another of the contenders, Clifton, tomorrow at Footes Lane with just three points separating the top four sides going into the weekend.
‘It has been clarified that only one team will go up, so it looks like it’s going to come down to the last week and for us we have to look at it that we have a part to play,’ said Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.
‘We do not want to roll over for these guys to get promoted. As far as we are concerned, we do not have any favourites in the title race and we are looking to compete as much as we can with these teams.’
Reynolds added that his squad ‘cannot be any more disappointed’ with the way they performed in their 54-17 defeat at Redruth and he is pleased they have an immediate chance to make amends.
‘We have said that if that had been the last game of the season, we would have been stewing over it all summer, but the best part is we have an opportunity after only seven days to get back in action and perform well,’ he said.
‘We know we need a big reaction this week and how we perform comes down to getting our roles right.’
Reynolds has delayed naming his side for tomorrow’s clash for good reason as several first-team regulars who have been missing for several weeks with injury – such as captain Lewis Hillier, prop Darrin Bellingham and scrum-half Charlie Simmonds – could be back in contention.
‘Getting guys back gives us a lot more to choose from and different combinations to play with, we just have to try and find the right balance in the squad,’ said the coach, who will be without Owen Thomas after he picked up a knock against Redruth.
‘Clifton are completely different to Redruth in how they play. Redruth are very much a kick to the corner and catch-and-drive team whereas Clifton throw a lot of ball around – it is hard to believe but they probably try to be more expansive than we do.
‘They have got a very good No. 10 who likes to shift the ball wide and early, either through passing it or kicking it, and they have also got a pretty powerful pack up front.
‘It does not come much tougher than having to play Redruth and Clifton back-to-back and these sides who are competing for the No. 1 spot bring high energy levels, so this could be a very fiery contest.
‘But we have had really good conversations this week, we are willing to draw a line in the sand after last week and the three pillars we are looking at now are improvement, reaction and opportunity.’
Raiders v Clifton kicks off at 2pm tomorrow at Footes Lane.