Guernsey Press

Barnes to make Guernsey debut in the battle of the Raiders

NEW signing Dan Barnes comes straight into the Guernsey midfield for today’s clash of the Raiders at Footes Lane.

Centre Dan Barnes has joined Guernsey Raiders from Jersey Reds after the Championship-title holders ceased trading last week. (Picture by Tony Curr, 32595133)

He will play outside of the in-form Ciaran McGann in what has the potential to be a potent centre partnership while Charlie Simmonds continues at fly-half with Dan Rice and Tom Teasdale named on the bench as they return from injury.

Both the home side and visitors Worthing have the same nickname and up until last weekend they had the same record of one win and three defeats.

However, the green-and-whites are coming off the back of a confidence boosting win on the road against Wimbledon, which has seen them climb to eighth in National Two East while Worthing are 12th, having come out on the wrong side of a high-scoring game with Canterbury seven days ago.

‘We have got a fair bit of history with Worthing,’ said Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.

‘We have only beaten Worthing once and we had to come back from a 20-odd points deficit to beat them.

‘We cannot afford to get off to that slow start this week. We have to be gunning straight from the word go.’

Reynolds added that his side have mainly been concentrating on their defensive structures this week, and with good reason.

‘Worthing’s strengths are all set around their backs. They have a lot of speed and most of their scoring opportunities come from the 5m channel,’ he said.

‘We have done a lot of work on setting our line early and cutting off their outside options. If we do that, we will give ourselves a chance, but our energy levels have to be very good.

‘Worthing are averaging 28 points a game but still losing games, so that shows a team with talent but perhaps just lacking a bit of confidence.

‘At the moment, our squad is confident in how we are performing, but each week it gets a little bit tougher because we are always facing something different.

‘We are only one point off the top six and we believe we can be a top-six side, but we need to get that win this weekend to keep in touch with those sides above us.’

Guernsey v Worthing kicks off at 2pm today at Footes Lane.

Guernsey team: Dunn, Ceillam, Currie, Hillier, Webb, Creber, Dom Rice, Hackett, Rutledge, Simmonds, Smith, C McGann, Barnes, Boyland, Roberts. Replacements: Phelan, Burger, Culverhouse, Dan Rice, Teasdale.