Guernsey Press

League leaders Esher next test for Raiders

The best team in National Two East await buoyant Raiders tomorrow.

Last updated
Hugo Culverhouse breaks away to score one of his two tries against Tonbridge Juddians last weekend. He is set to move into the Raiders second row tomorrow in the absence of co-capain Lewis Hillier (headband). (Picture by Martin Gray, 32877854)

Coming off of the confidence-boosting win against Tonbridge Juddians at Footes Lane last weekend, Guernsey travel to league leaders Esher, who are on a nine-game winning streak as they look for a return to National One.

‘They are a quality outfit and I think there’s no doubt they will be promoted, but if we can build on the performance from last week, we can fire some good shots at them by bringing the same consistency through on defence and look to improve on our discipline and attack, which were not as good as they could be,’ said Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.

‘It is about going up there and putting in a good performance, regardless of what is on the scoreboard.

‘We want to build on the encouragement of TJs and build some form because we have got really important games coming up.’

Unsurprisingly, after the immense shift Raiders put in to beat TJs, they have been forced into at least one change in their line-up with co-captain Lewis Hillier having picked up a knock that sees him replaced in the starting XV by Carter Hackett.

Hugo Culverhouse moves into the second row.

A couple of other forwards need to pass fitness tests, too, which is hardly surprising when the breakdown of the TJs contest showed that Guernsey had to make 111 tackles in the second half alone when their usual match average is around 90.

‘Lewis’ ankle blew up post-game and he has not been able to walk,’ Reynolds said.

‘He has had some scans and everything seems OK, so we are hoping the swelling will go down for next week.

‘James Burger was not able to train on Tuesday because of his shoulder, but the assessment is that it is bruising, and Dom Rice’s shoulder was not great after the game either, but he managed to train.

‘A lot of bodies were battered and bruised as you can imagine, especially in the forwards, but with the injuries we already have to guys like Liam Welch, it is hard to get any rotation.

‘The squad we are able to take is still pretty strong though.’

There will be a pitch inspection ahead of the game due to the threat of it being frozen.

Provisional Raiders team

Steventon, Burger, Currie, Culverhouse, Webb, Creber, Dom Rice, Hackett, Boyland, Teasdale, Smith, N McGann, C McGann, Armstrong, Roberts. Replacements: Dunn, Phelan, Yarwood, Dan Rice, Rutledge.