Guernsey Press

Barnes gets ‘a rugby lifeline’ with Raiders

FROM Jersey Reds to Guernsey Raiders – it has been a roller-coaster week for Dan Barnes.

Dan Barnes, pictured at Footes Lane forming the ruck, played for Henley against Raiders in the 2018-19 season, scoring four tries against them in one of the matches. (32595157)

The 28-year-old centre was a member of the Championship-winning Reds squad who suddenly found themselves without a job last week when the club ceased trading amid financial difficulties.

Today he will be running out for Guernsey against Worthing at Footes Lane, having joined Raiders on Thursday after being contacted by director of rugby Jordan Reynolds to see if they could help each other out.

‘I’ve played against Raiders a fair few times from my many years in National Two, so I know what they’re about, I know what they bring and luckily I know quite a few lads from university and from previous clubs as well that are here,’ Barnes said.

‘It means that I can stay in Jersey with my partner and our dog as well, so that’s like the biggest thing at the moment.

‘She’s been my rock through this hard time and so has my dog, as everyone knows.

‘So it’s really beneficial for me – I can’t not play rugby. There obviously are those questions whether you want to play anymore when this all happens ... so to play some competitive rugby in a great league that I’ve played for many years, for Guernsey – great opportunity for me and also a great opportunity to save my family as well. So I’m really looking forward to cracking on.’

On the day that Reds announced they would be moving into liquidation after the States of Jersey voted out the proposal to provide the club with further government funding, Barnes admitted that the situation was ‘all very raw’.

‘I didn’t really know that all of this would happen within a week ... not having a job and everything crashing down and everything that we all worked so hard to get to has just fallen off the face of the Earth.

‘It’s been real tough, but I’m dealing with it OK at the moment.’

He added that the chance to join Raiders is ‘a rugby lifeline’ for him.

‘It means the world. I can’t thank the club enough for welcoming me as well,’ said Barnes.

‘I know what Guernsey is about. I know Channel Islands rugby is hard to come and win a game, so it’ll be a tough game on the weekend, but I’m really looking forward to trying to put my stamp on things and try and get back into the flow of rugby, and clear my head as well with a new bunch of boys with completely different life stories.

‘It’ll be really good for me.’

Reynolds said the agreement was mutually beneficial, even if it is hard to say how long it will last.

‘We are so short on backs at the moment, having someone like Dan will be a great help. We need help and he needs game-time,’ the Raiders head coach said.

‘He was at Henley when we were absolutely destroyed by them a few years ago – they put 60 points on us and he scored a lot of them.

‘He then went to London Scottish and has been with Jersey for the last three years.’