Raiders want a top-four scalp

SIGNING off at home with a win against one of National Two South’s top four tomorrow would be a major confidence boost ahead of next month’s Siam double-header.

Matt Armstrong is tackled when Guernsey travelled to Worthing earlier in the season. He returns to the side for tomorrow's return fixture at Footes Lane. (Picture by Mike Marshall, 30769704)
Matt Armstrong is tackled when Guernsey travelled to Worthing earlier in the season. He returns to the side for tomorrow's return fixture at Footes Lane. (Picture by Mike Marshall, 30769704)

That was Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds’ message yesterday ahead of Worthing’s trip to Footes Lane this weekend.

Although the visitors are now out of the promotion hunt, Reynolds expects them to be formidable opposition.

‘After the season we have had, which has been pretty successful from my perspective, we still have not knocked off one of the top four sides,’ he said.

‘We have been really close a couple of times – Esher away and we got to nearly 15 minutes of extra time against Clifton here – but this is our last chance to get a win against one of those [top four] sides.

‘It is a daunting task because Worthing are a fantastic side and the weather will suit them, but we are preparing for the Siam and players are playing for places in that so they will want to put up a big performance, especially with it being our last home game in the league this season.

‘It is going to be a massive challenge and I would say we are underdogs on form, but in our squad we have a lot of faith in our ability.’

Raiders continue to rotate their squad, with captain Lewis Hillier set to return in the second row alongside Matt Thomas, allowing Oscar Baird to move into the back row.

With Ciaran McGann injured, although Reynolds reported the good news that it does not appear to be a long-term problem and the centre could be back soon, the coaching team have opted to start Callum Roberts in midfield next to Charlie Davies while Matt Armstrong comes in on the left wing.

‘Matt has played a fair bit at 13 for us, but Callum played there for 30 minutes last week and there are some qualities there that he has which we do not see from others.

‘He is explosive in his running game and has the ability to isolate defenders.

‘We are quite comfortable having Matt on the wing and it will be a good opportunity to see him there.’

Coming off the back of last weekend’s dramatic 33-33 draw with Canterbury in which Reynolds said he had ‘a huge amount of respect for the boys for the way they clawed it back’, the Guernsey head coach revealed he expects a very different type of game seven days on.

‘We clearly want to make improvements from last week.

‘I don’t think it takes a genius to know that starting better would be a good place to start because by 20 minutes in last week we had missed 13 tackles and given away eight penalties. After that we did not give away until the last 10 minutes.

‘A lot of those things revolve around our discipline, so to start it is not just about being physical and fast out of the blocks, but also our discipline has to be on point.

‘It is going to be a lot different game to Canterbury, who are just a massive physical beast of a team. Worthing are very attack orientated and will give us a lot of different problems.’

  • Guernsey v. Worthing kicks off at 3pm on Saturday at Footes Lane.

Guernsey Raiders team

Sam Steventon, Tom Ceillam, Jacob Pinkney, Lewis Hillier, Matt Thomas, Oscar Baird, Dom Rice, Doug Horrocks, Charlie Simmonds, Owen Thomas, Matt Armstrong, Charlie Davies, Callum Roberts, Anthony Armstrong, Joe Andresen. Replacements: Dan Morgan, Darrin Bellingham, Brad Webb, Lucas Barker, Ethan Smith.

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