DOUBLE HEADER AT LONDON IRISH
THE Raiders of both sexes are on the plane to London tomorrow with the Guernsey Ladies seeking that so far elusive first win at their new level, while the men target a fifth win in six to stay in the thick of the London and SE title race.
There is good news for the ladies in that Jess Melville, so hugely influential last season, joins up from a break in her Army training at Sandhurst.
On the downside, Aimee Le Bachelet can’t play so Justeen Baker moves over into the 9 shirt.
London Irish Ladies are currently third in the league with a game in hand, while GRL are seventh, one from the bottom.
But amid all the injuries which make GRL’s season a struggle thus far, is that all the while the new recruits are stepping up and getting loads of game time and experience with it.
As for the men, skipper Lewis Hillier is ruled out with a rib injury while Courtney Raymond returns to the club he played for a couple of seasons back.
Raymond has integrated well says head coach Jordan Reynolds, who despite a few absences is able to name a strong 18.
‘Courtney has been enjoying it here. At the moment he is continually working out how he fits in but he is offering more and more with each game.’
Meanwhile, Nick Merrien returns to the starting side as, in effect, Hillier’s replacement and he comes in on the back of two man of the match performances for St Jacques Vikings.
The coach expects another tough game in what has been a stiff opening few weeks with match after match against sides expected to challenge.
‘They have won both their home games and it will be another tough contest, but we are hitting a bit of form ourselves.
‘They have got a lot of new faces from last season and we know it’s going to be a pretty tight affair.’
One new face in the Raiders squad is Vikings scrum half and Island cricketer Lucas Barker.
He acts as cover for the backs.
Men - Sam Steventon, Tom Ceillam (c), Jacob Pinkney, Nick Merrien, Brad Webb, Courtney Raymond, Dom Rice, Douglas Horrocks; Jake O’Connor, Joe Andresen, Luke Sayer, Asher Veamatahau, Matt Armstrong, Amanaki Veamatahau, Anthony Armstrong.
Replacements: Cameron Craine, Leon Gardner, Lucas Barker.
Ladies: Elin Prichard, Jillian Smith, Kayleigh Oliver, Kristine Vavere (c), Rachel Merrien, Vicki Rang, Jessica Melville, Tanya Scholtz; Justeen Baker, Hannah Guilbert, Kelly Jones, Sophie Ferbrache, Becky Ashworth, Aimee Gaudion.
Replacements: Lael Hollingworth, Kelsey Ormrod, Asha Holberry.