‘Hugely encouraging’ signs please the Raiders director of rugby

A RAIDERS side bolstered by Vikings gave Jordan Reynolds something to smile about despite finishing the National Two South campaign on a losing note.

Guernsey were 14-12 ahead at half-time away to in-form Leicester Lions at the weekend having scored tries through James Regnard and Joe Andresen, before fatigue and injuries crept in during the second half and the home side ran out 47-14 winners.

‘Ultimately, we achieved what we wanted to out of the game,’ said head coach Reynolds, who rested a lot of his first-team regulars with the upcoming Siam Cup double-header in mind.

‘We were 14-12 up and probably left another couple of tries on the pitch in the first half, and I think we should have had a penalty try, too, but it was only given as a yellow card to them.

‘We made some changes at half-time with Owen Thomas, Dale Rutledge and Darrin Bellingham coming off and by the time there were about 25 minutes left, we had a couple of injuries in the backs. We could have put Owen back on, but we chose not to do that with Siam coming up, so we were down to 14 and they ended up scoring four tries in that period.

‘Overall, given the calibre of team we were up against while we had nine Vikings in our squad, it was really pleasing to see the reaction of the team and we talked about celebrating the small wins in the game, which we did.

The St Jacques Vikings regulars who turned out for Raiders. (Picture by Mike Marshall, 30801118)

‘The scoreline does not reflect the game – the difference came when we opted to play with 14 and that’s when the floodgates opened to a degree.’

The result means that Guernsey, who completed 29 of 30 fixtures, finished 10th in the table while Leicester were fifth.

‘What really brought it into context was all Leicester talked about was being a top-six side,’ Reynolds said.

‘They did not really go into their depth that much this season. They have used about 32 players whereas we have used about 48-50 players.

‘Our goal was to stay up, but realistically if we had kept our full focus on the league instead of having an eye on the Siam in the last few weeks, we could have been in the top seven.

‘Tenth place was a reflection on how hard the squad worked and moving up a league is never easy, but the amount of opportunities we gave to the wider training squad and still managed to be competitive is hugely encouraging for our club.’

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