Creber and Thomas return to Raiders starting XV
RAIDERS are desperate for their Canterbury tale to be one of victory tomorrow.
After the disappointment of last week’s narrow defeat to Westcombe Park, where they felt Hugo Culverhouse had managed to touch down for a late try but it was not awarded, Guernsey host another team who are close to them in a table that is becoming very congested from sixth down to 13th.
The Kent-based visitors have won four of their nine fixtures this season to sit seventh, two places and five points ahead of Raiders, who are starting to look over their own shoulders at those who have closed the gap on them in recent weeks.
‘Canterbury are a better side than they were last season. By this time last season, they were second from bottom, but look at their form at the moment and they have done really well and have even managed to beat some of the top six with a good win over TJs,’ said Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.
‘It is going to be a pretty tough contest, especially for us. We have used the word “frustration” multiple times this week after the result last week because these games are so important, and we are now staring behind us at those below because Worthing in the bottom two are only one win away from us.
‘It is really important that we’re on top this week.’
With the forecast suggesting it will be wet and windy once again, Guernsey are prepared for an up-front battle.
‘Even if it was dry, Canterbury play the same way – they are really heavy on putting their big forwards through the gain-line and one of our plans last season was to be hard on their big-hitters first up, which we did and managed to get a really good win.
‘They also probably kick more proportionally than most other teams in the league through their box and their 10 – so we have got to win those little battles if we are to come out on top.’
Flanker Matt Creber returns to the starting XV tomorrow having returned from injury off the bench at Westcombe Park.
Culverhouse shifts forward into the second row with Brad Webb among the replacements.
Behind the scrum, fly-half Owen Thomas also gets a start.
‘Owen came on for maybe 30 minutes last week at Westcombe Park and controlled things well,’ Reynolds said.
‘Over the course of the last few games we have been making slight changes and we just thought this was a good opportunity to put him in from the start, also in the knowledge that Dan Rice will be unavailable for a couple of weeks after this game.’
• Raiders versus Canterbury kicks off at 3pm tomorrow at Footes Lane and is part of a triple-header with St Jacques Vikings playing Basingstoke at 12.30pm at Les Ozouets and Guernsey Raiders Ladies taking on Canterbury Ladies at 5pm.
Guernsey Raiders team
Sam Steventon, Tom Ceillam, Charlie Currie, Lewis Hillier, Hugo Culverhouse, Matt Creber, Dom Rice, Carter Hackett, Sam Boyland, Owen Thomas, Ethan Smith, Ciaran McGann, Dan Barnes, Tom Teasdale, Callum Roberts.
Replacements: James Burger, Jamie Dunn, Brad Webb, Charlie Simmonds, Dan Rice.