Guernsey Press

Evans hopes his team have found their feet just in time

STEVE EVANS is confident that his much-changed side will make it nine Siam Cup wins for the Sarnian women today.

The young Raiders ladies listen to the preliminaries ahead of receiving their Siam shirts. (Pictures By Sophie Rabey, 30158791)

But if you had asked him whether they would stretch that run a fortnight ago, you would not have got the same answer, after all Jersey had shown great improvement and pushed the Greens all the way in 2019.

‘If you had asked me that [the result] two weeks ago I would have been a bit more nervous; we have had a tough beginning and we have a relatively new squad.

‘We had three defeats in the league but we have been getting better over the course of those three games and we got our first win last Sunday against the team lying second in the league.

‘That has boosted everyone’s confidence and what it shows is that a relatively inexperienced squad is starting to gel.’

Evans further argues that his team have a backbone of experienced players and the style of rugby from his 2021 side is exciting to watch.

‘I am not saying we are favourites; we have a good chance of winning, but I know Jersey have made huge strides.

Coach Steve Evans. (30158793)

‘But with Covid and teams not playing rugby for so long, a lot of teams are still finding their feet. With a bit of luck we found ours last week and that sets a good foundation for this weekend.’

The Guernsey side plays one league above Jersey, who have played only one league match so far, which was a comprehensive 57-10 win away at Seaford.

‘They are absolutely buzzing, so looking forward to it,’ said Jersey coach Simon Le Moignan.

‘They just can’t wait until Saturday.

‘We have carried on training, had a couple of games, and they are itching to get out there and give a good account of themselves.’

A pre-season friendly against Cooke, a side with half a dozen players from Ulster and an Irish international prop, was a severe test back in September, but the team stuck to what they had been coached within the heavy loss.

The Seaford game saw them take a substantial lead in at half time but still stick to their game plan in the second period.

Jersey have been looking to change the way they approach their games. ‘I asked them how they wanted to play – they said a more open, expansive game,’ said Le Moignan.

‘We have been training that way and the feedback is they enjoyed this style of play more.’

Le Moignan makes the valid point, though, that both sides are pretty much unknown and believes it is going to be a close game. He has told the squad not to worry about the history of losses.

‘You can only play what’s in front of you, you can’t let what’s happened dictate the way you play,’ he said.

‘You just have to go out there and enjoy it, play for each other. They are the same as you, skin and bone, they are not superhuman.’

. The match kicks off at 1pm on the club pitch. There is no admission charge.