Innovative Raiders to stage a ‘Test’ series
RAIDERS are putting on their own ‘Test Series’ over the next three months as they make the most of being able to play matches while their National League colleagues in England are restricted to six-man training pods.
‘We are going to have two select sides in a three-match series with a game in September, October and November,’ said Guernsey’s director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.
‘We are lucky compared to the mainland because we still get to play some sort of rugby and there is definitely an appetite for live sport here, so we are looking at having some good hit-outs, which gives us something to prepare for.
‘We will split our squad down the middle for two sides that are really even and that will throw up some great match-ups like Sam Steventon versus Layton Batiste, Owen Thomas versus Joe Andresen and Doug Horrocks versus Dom Rice – all these brilliant match-ups people have said they’d like to see. It will be a bit of a spectacle for people and we get some rugby out of it.’
The two sides will be coached by Malcolm Barnes and Luke Jones, with Reynolds reporting that there is already some banter flying.
‘They are competitive guys and we are trying to make a bad situation into a good one,’ he said, referencing the lack of league matches due to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘This gives them [Barnes and Jones] an opportunity to coach in “real time” and I can oversee the lot of it and give them feedback.’
The first match of the ‘Test Series’, as Reynolds dubbed it, will take place on Saturday 26 September at Footes Lane. Dates for the subsequent two games are being finalised, but they are likely to be four weeks apart.
Other matches will also take place on these days, with plans for there to be a full community day of rugby throughout the age groups to be held on the October edition.
‘What I’m hoping for is a 28-26 game, or something like that, in the first match because that would set up the series nicely,’ Reynolds said.
‘We saw when Douglas came over that people are just keen to get out on a Saturday and they come down to see people they know – the likes of Anthony and Matt Armstrong or Owen Thomas or Luke Sayer – do something amazing.
‘While in England it looks like the clubs will only be able to have six-man training pods for a while yet. We can throw the ball around and have some contact, so we want to make the most of it.’