Three in line for debuts as Raiders bid for Siam hat-trick in Jersey

Three Raiders are in line to make their Siam Cup debuts tomorrow as Guernsey defend the second oldest trophy in rugby.

The Guernsey Raiders Siam Cup squad at this week's shirt presentation before they head to Jersey on Saturday. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32074388)
The Guernsey Raiders Siam Cup squad at this week's shirt presentation before they head to Jersey on Saturday. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32074388)

Former Brumbie Jordan Smiler is the only player in the named starting XV to have not featured against Jersey in the annual contest before, while Sam Boyland and Tom Creed are the ‘uncapped’ duo among the replacements.

In the absence of the injured Hugo Culverhouse, the pack is arguably as strong as it could be while assistant coach Malcolm Barnes will be the starting scrum-half, with Charlie Simmonds missing out having missed the back end of the National Two East season through injury.

Jordan Reynolds revealed that was one of several ‘tough conversations’ between the coaching team.

‘I think it’s probably the hardest selection I’ve had to do at Siam time. It has got a lot to do with guys coming back from injuries and their recovery time,’ said the Guernsey director of rugby.

  • Podcast: Listen to a full Siam Cup preview on this week's Guernsey Press Sport Podcast

‘But it has definitely been a hard selection and I don’t believe our bench has ever been stronger for a Siam. There’s a debate that a lot of those guys should be starting, but as coaches we have to make decisions on what we feel is best for a particular game.

‘What I will say, though, is that we have never won any Siam with just the XV who started and I am confident in the 23 we’ve got.’

Reynolds also admitted that the planning for the Siam Cup defence had been going on for a few weeks, since before the end of the league season.

‘I cannot stress enough the amount of effort guys have gone to. I’m talking about the early-morning 5.30 starts to get up for a Steve Melbourne rehab session, which isn’t fun but it has been great to see them prepared to do it.

‘Probably a third of our squad have been going through some sort of rehab over the past few weeks for the Siam – it is the end of a long season and it is tough on the bodies – but for me as a coach it has just been really pleasing to see the dedication of these guys to get there.

‘The Siam Cup is a little different to any other game of rugby and Jersey are a little different to any other opponents we face.

‘I have been trying to rattle them a lot over the last couple of weeks, both emotionally and physically, because when it comes to a Siam Cup, staying focused is crucial.’

Guernsey Raiders team

Sam Steventon, Tom Ceillam, Jacob Pinkney, Lewis Hillier, Brad Webb, Matt Creber, Dom Rice, Jordan Smiler, Malcolm Barnes, Owen Thomas, Callum Roberts, Tom Teasdale, Ciaran McGann, Anthony Armstrong, Luke Sayer.

Replacements: Dan Morgan, Charlie Currie, Darrin Bellingham, Tom Creed, James Burger, Sam Boyland, Charlie Davies, Ethan Smith.

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