Last away test for Raiders will be tough
ANY points at all away to promotion-chasing Henley tomorrow will help Raiders in their own battle against relegation, says Jordan Reynolds.
Although Guernsey are on their best run of the season, having won their last three games, they will be underdogs as they travel to the fourth-placed side who still have eyes on snatching the promotion play-off place behind champions-elect Rams.
The Raiders coach also has to deal with another depleted backline with both Luke Sayer and Jason Batiste unavailable from last week’s winning XV while Malcolm Barnes has been ruled out after picking up an ankle injury, but with all the various connotations at both ends of the table coming to a head at the business end of the season, Reynolds described it as an ‘exciting time’.
‘The boys worked really hard last week to get the win and it’s a real shame that you get more injuries or unavailabilities, but the chance of picking up even one point out of this game gives us something to play for and anything can happen,’ Reynolds said.
‘We went to London Irish with a similar squad and managed to come away with an important victory.
‘This will be a tougher test, but we do need points from all our last three games and with Henley being Sam Steventon’s ex club, it is a game our pack have been looking forward to.’
Prop Steventon is part of an unchanged Guernsey pack tomorrow, with Tom Teasdale and Owen Thomas continuing as the half-back combination.
Vikings regulars Matt Lomas and Cam Le Prevost are due to come into the backline along with Dale Martin, who is getting his first start for more than six months after being dogged by an Achilles problem.
‘Dale has come back to training on numerous occasions throughout the season but then relapsed. He played last week for the Seconds, though, and got through it OK so he will be on the wing,’ Reynolds said.
London Irish Wild Geese were the first team to be relegated last week with two other clubs joining them by the end of the season.
Raiders have to leapfrog two sides in their last three games to avoid the drop.
‘We still have Taunton and Old Albanians to come at home, we will just not know where we are points-wise for those until after Saturday,’ said Reynolds.
‘Irish have gone now, so there are only two more spots and we have been performing really well at home so it’s a pretty exciting end to the season.’
Provisional Raiders team:
Steventon, Ceillam, L. Batiste, Hillier, Merrien, Shannon, Rice, Horrocks, Teasdale, Thomas, Le Prevost, Lomas, Morisio, Martin, Aremu. Replacements: Anderson, Baron, Creber plus others tbc.