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Next Match: Guernsey Raiders vs Worthing | Match Preview

Next Match: Guernsey Raiders vs Worthing | Match Preview

Zoe Collins10 Feb - 10:16
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Guernsey’s hopes of extending their unbeaten record in 2024 have been boosted by the return of some key figures for today’s battle of the Raiders.

This first appeared in the Guernsey Press.

Guernsey’s hopes of extending their unbeaten record in 2024 have been boosted by the return of some key figures for today’s battle of the Raiders.

Having missed the win at Old Albanians last weekend, co-captain Lewis Hillier and in-form Sam Boyland are back in the squad for the trip to Worthing, as is Dale Rutledge, although Hugo Culverhouse is unavailable.

Meanwhile, there is good news on the injury front with Tom Teasdale and Anthony Armstrong both named in the side.

The pair were due to undergo late fitness tests, with Teasdale having felt a tight hamstring against OAs while Armstrong suffered a pectoral issue, but director of rugby Jordan Reynolds was hopeful they would be available to play against the side who sit directly below 11th-placed Guernsey in National Two East, albeit nine points adrift.

Worthing are coming off the back of a hard-fought 29-26 win over Westcombe Park last week, which came seven days after a narrow 36-33 defeat away to Canterbury.

‘We are probably facing a different type of game than the OAs one,’ said Reynolds.

‘No doubt Worthing will play with a lot of desperation because of their position and you can see that in their last couple of results – they were unlucky not to win at Canterbury and then they won at the death against Westcombe Park at their place last week.

‘They are scoring a lot of points – they are averaging over 30 in their last couple of outings and that’s tough to do – so we have to try and minimise that.

‘If we can get our defence something similar to how it was against TJs and Wimbledon, we will have a chance, but it’s going to be a battle.

‘We are not safe ourselves either. We have been gathering that form over the last three weeks and meeting those energy levels of Worthing for 80 minutes, and starting with energy, will be key.’

Guernsey got off to a flier against Old Albanians last week when they scored within the first minute of the game, but that has been the exception rather than the norm on the road this season.

‘We did discuss that this week. Sometimes you cannot always start the way you want, but the energy levels and the commitment should not waver,’ Reynolds said.

A win could lift Guernsey as high as eighth, a position currently held by Westcombe Park who have won five games compared to seven for the three teams immediately chasing them.

Reynolds pointed out that statistic emphasises the importance of bonus points for scoring four tries and finishing within seven points of the opposition if you lose.

‘If you look from October onwards up to the end of the year, we very rarely picked up bonus points – to score bonus points you need to have threats in multiple areas and we wound up in a bit of a dip,’ he said.

‘We have found that we have clicked again of late.’

Guernsey team: Steventon, Burger, Currie, Hillier, Webb, Creber, Rice, Hackett, Boyland, Simmonds, Smith, Teasdale, C McGann, Armstrong, Roberts. Replacements: Dunn, Ceillam, Yarwood, Rutledge, N McGann.

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