Championship rugby returns to Stade Santander International with the visit of our old friends from Nottingham.
Nottingham have had a mixed start to the season, starting with two wins against new-boys Ampthill and then London Scottish. This was followed by losses to Hartpury and the Pirates. They sit in 7th, one point and one place behind the Reds. We welcome their players, coaches, officials and supporters as always.
The Reds had a tough game last Saturday up at Newcastle but played some outstanding rugby against the Premiership-ready squad and were unlucky not to come away with at least one point. Sadly, we picked up another nasty injury, this time to Mark Best who will be out for a long spell.
Today the Reds will be playing in their uniquely designed "lemur" shirts supporting Durrells who are also our charity of the day. We congratulate Emily Neil who designed the shirt and we welcome her as well as her Mum, Dad and younger brother Samuel to lunch in the clubhouse today.
On a less happy note, we said goodbye to club stalwart and all-round good man Adrian Willis recently. We will have some moments of applause in his memory before the kick-off this week for us all to remember him. Our sympathy goes out to all his family and friends.
Let's hope for a great game.
Come on you Reds!
Nottingham are one of the longest-serving clubs at level two, having recently started their 16th season at this level – only Bedford and the Pirates have a longer tenure. The Midlanders’ best finish during this time was second in 2012/13, the first year that the Reds competed in the Championship.
Head Coach Neil Fowkes took the reins in summer 2018, the latest move in a 30-year stint with Nottingham that began as a mini player in the 1980s. In his first season in charge, Fowkes led the club to a seventh-placed finish with 10 wins and a draw in their 22 Championship matches.
Seventh is also the position in which Nottingham find themselves after the first four rounds of this season’s league programme. The Championship campaign began with a 20-44 win at new boys Ampthill, and six days later the Green-and-Whites edged home 17-14 against Nottingham.
In their last two outings, Nottingham have only secured one bonus point, gained in defeat at Hartpury by 12-6. Last weekend high-flying Cornish Pirates came to the bay for a Friday night encounter that finished 14-23 in the visitors’ favour.
Nottingham and the Reds have already met twice in 2019, In the first match after the Christmas and New Year break, the Reds scored five converted tries and eventually won 41-16. The return encounter at Lady Bay at Easter was a far closer affair – the hosts led 21-8 early in the second half, but were pegged back by two Jersey tries before eventually completing a 24-20 victory.
Overall the sides have met 14 times at this level since 2012, with Jersey having eight wins to the Green-and-Whites’ five, and one draw – a 19-19 game at Lady Bay in December 2017.
Meet the opposition
The loose head prop signing for Nottingham in the summer of 2017, after a successful pre-season trial period. The Samoan joined Leicester Tigers from his native island club Vaimoso in the summer of 2014, shortly after making his test debut in a 33-14 defeat to Japan.
Unable to break into the Tigers first XV, Aniseko, or ‘Seko’ as he is known to his teammates, then moved on to the Leicester Lions where he helped the National League 2 North outfit to a third-place finish last season.
The 27-year-old has gone on to make 45 appearances for Nottingham since his arrival. Seko is only the second Samoan to play for Nottingham, following in the footsteps of Filipo Levi, who featured for the Green and Whites during their 2011/12 campaign.
The Irishman joined the Green & Whites from Doncaster Knights in the summer of 2017, having previously spent three seasons with fellow South Yorkshire side Rotherham Titans.
He played a crucial part in their playoff campaigns in 2013/14 and 2014/15. Sean has become a key figure on and off the field for Neil Fowkes’ team and, as of this year, he took up the role of player-coach.
He has taken on several duties within the squad as an assistant coach. ‘Scans’ has made a total of 54 appearances for the Green and Whites.
Antonio 'TJ' Harris
Date of Birth: 25.02.94
Place of Birth: Coventry
Previous Clubs: Wasps, Nottingham, Bedford
Sponsors: NatWest International
Date of Birth: 28.2.99
Place of Birth: Harrogate
Weight: 97kg/15st 4lbs
Previous Clubs: Edinburgh Academical, SRU Academy
Sponsors: BCR Law