Guernsey Press

Vikings ready for season-defining visit of leaders Sandown

It is being billed as the biggest game in Vikings history and the players are viewing pressure as a privilege.

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St Jacques Vikings players Barnaby Paul, left, and captain Matt Lomas speaking on the Guernsey Press Sport Podcast. (Picture by Tony Curr, 33059530)

Tomorrow St Jacques host Counties Two Hampshire leaders Sandown & Shanklin, the team that ended the Vikings’ 29-match winning run in RFU league rugby earlier this season and arguably their main title rivals, in a huge clash at Footes Lane.

‘We’ve been talking about it for weeks – it’s been a target game of ours,’ said Vikings captain Matt Lomas on the Guernsey Press Sports Podcast.

‘We set about three or four target games throughout the whole season, but this one especially after losing to them away.

‘They are a very good side. That’s why they’re top of the league.

‘It is a key game and all through last week and this week it’s just preparation for this game.’

  • Listen to the full interview with Vikings duo Matt Lomas and Barnaby Paul on this week’s Guernsey Press Sport Podcast

Lomas was joined by teammate Barnaby Paul as guests on the podcast and the versatile forward was not shying away from the game’s importance.

‘This game has kind of been earmarked, probably since we lost to Sandown in the reverse fixture in the Isle of Wight, as the biggest game of the season as the game that would probably end up defining our season, and I think it’s very much obviously panned out that way,’ Paul said.

‘We’ve had one other loss in the interim, but the way that the league’s gone so far, it still allows us to almost have things in our own hands.

‘If we beat Sandown this week, that’ll be extremely important and help us towards, hopefully, eventual victory in the league.’

St Jacques are third in the table, trailing Sandown & Shanklin by 15 points, but they have two games in hand on the side from the Isle of Wight.

Basingstoke are the other promotion contenders and they currently split the other two.

Both Lomas and Paul reported that Vikings learnt a lot of lessons from when the two sides met in December, but they know it will be tough against the well-drilled league leaders tomorrow.

‘Ultimately we had weaknesses on the day, we didn’t play the best game that we could have, but obviously we have to try and avenge that this week,’ Paul said.

  • St Jacques Vikings against Sandown & Shanklin is on the Club Pitch at Footes Lane tomorrow, 2pm kick off.