Welcome to one of the highlights of the season - a visit from the "Premiership ready" side, Newcastle Falcons. The Reds have had a happy tendency to take results off the team from the top-tier as London Irish, Bristol and Worcester can testify from recent seasons. There is no reason we can't repeat that in this match!
We know the Falcons are bringing a good number of traveling fans with them so we warmly welcome them and all players, coaches and officials. We hope you will enjoy the famous Jersey hospitality.
This is our first programme since the RFU's disgraceful announcement of draconian cuts to the funding of the Championship. The RFU created this professional league, lest we forget. Having done that, it has consistently failed to provide a clear mission statement for the teams involved, failed to obtain a dedicated, committed sponsor and has failed to market the league appropriately, including television coverage. The teams involved have been largely successful despite this and to be told in such an off-hand manner that funding has been slashed is unprofessional, immoral and lacking any sense of responsibility. This is unfinished business.
This is the final game in this block and the Reds will be looking forward to a well earned break before the final run-in commences with a visit to Nottingham on the 14th of March.
Everyone at Jersey Reds is sad to hear the news that the charter flight from Newcastle to Jersey has been cancelled due to weather-related safety issues. Your presence will be missed at the match but hopefully you'll be able to listen to it on the radio or through Twitter.
Played 20, won 20 – visitors Newcastle Falcons make their third trip to Jersey sitting pretty atop the Greene King IPA Championship and on course to return to the top tier.
The Falcons have won all 13 of their league games – plus seven in the Championship Cup – and at this rate could be back among the Premiership elite within the next month or so. An undefeated season beckons, which would be the first instance of this at level two since Worcester and Northampton achieved it in 2003/04 and 2007/08 respectively.
Searching for weaknesses in the Falcons’ make-up might be a fruitless exercise, although hosts Jersey Reds will clutch at the straw about the men from the North-East sometimes struggling to get into top gear on their travels. Four opponents have held Dean Richards’ side to single-figure margins so far this campaign: London Scottish (13-17) and the Pirates (9-18) in October, Bedford Blues (6-11) the following month and Nottingham (12-19) in January.
The Falcons have four players among the top 10 try-scorers for both the league and cup. Adam Radwan features in both lists, with 13 tries in total. The league records show 54 tries scored overall, and just 17 conceded by a miserly defence.
On the opening weekend of the season the Falcons visited the Island and won a tightly-contested cup match 8-21 with George Wacokecoke entering the fray as an early replacement and scoring two tries. At the start of November, the Falcons won 42-19 in a league encounter at Kingston Park, while the return cup match at the same venue in mid-December finished in another home win, by 38-7.
The two clubs have met during one previous season, Jersey’s first in the Championship. A muddy encounter at the ground now called Stade Santander International finished 3-24 in November 2012, while four months later it was 34-12. The Jersey points came from tries by Max Stelling and Joe Buckle, with Michael Le Bourgeois adding a conversion, while the Falcons try-scorers included Joel Hodgson, who is still with the Falcons, albeit now on his second stint. Back-row Will Welch and full-back Alex Tait are the other Newcastle survivors from 2012-13.
In between their two recent Championship stints, the Falcons were in the top flight for six seasons. Initially it was a battle against relegation, with three consecutive 11th-placed finishes, but in 2016/17 they improved to eighth and then a season later finished fourth, their best finish in tier 1 since winning the Allied Dunbar Premiership in 1997/98.
Meet the opposition
The 24-year-old centre has been one of the Falcons’ finds of the season, scoring nine tries in his 16 outings this term.
The first two of those came here on the opening day of the season when his contribution from the bench proved pivotal in helping the Falcons to a 21-8 victory over the Reds. Since then he has gone on to become a regular in the Newcastle back line, slotting in at either centre or out on the wing.
With his surname pronounced ‘Wa-tho-kay-tho-kay’, George was born and lived in Fiji until the age of seven, when his father’s service in the British Army saw him moving to Reading.
Going to boarding school and joining Northampton Saints’ academy he then signed for Bath after leaving school, the England Students international coming to the Falcons’ attention after a stint at Darlington Mowden Park before graduating from Northumbria University.
The prolific 26-year-old hooker has scored eight tries in his 11 appearances this season, proving to be an especially potent weapon at the back of the Falcons’ driving maul.
Promoted to co-captaincy honours this season alongside scrum-half Michael Young, the North-Yorkshire-born forward is a product of the Falcons’ academy who became the first member of their AASE scheme to graduate to first team honours.
Going on to spend two seasons at Leicester Tigers before returning to Tyneside in the summer of 2018, McGuigan has played 107 times for the Falcons during his two spells.
An England Saxons international after switching allegiance from Ireland Under-20s, he has also represented England in their annual non-cap match against the Barbarians.
Jersey Reds U11's hosted 2 teams from visiting school Blundells last weekend in very challenging conditions.
Jersey Reds U11's 2 Blundells 3
This was a tough game for the Reds and the score didn't reflect the amazing performance they put in. Conceding an early try cost them dearly and they showed great strength of character and determination to get themselves back in the game . They fought really hard and almost got the draw but the weather conditions , a slippy ball and strong winds were against them.