JERSEY REDS director of rugby Harvey Biljon has labelled tomorrow’s home tie ‘dangerous’ and warned his team against complacency when facing London Scottish.
The Islanders welcome Championship basement boys Scottish to St Peter’s for the first time in two years, due to the side not taking part in the condensed season last year, and Biljon is clear about what his message had been to players, backroom staff and fans.
Reds make only made one change to the 15 that beat Coventry last week while enjoying a break from travelling thanks to their first back-to-back home fixtures in the league this season, with fly-half Tom Pittman due to win his first Championship start since arriving from Boroughmuir Bears in early October.
‘It’s a big moment for Tom, there’s no doubt about that,’ said Biljon.
‘He’s very diligent, he’s clearly working very hard at his game, he was thrown into a big game at Doncaster after being at the club for only four or five days and he had to step up at a key moment and kick three points.
‘Tom then went on and played against Ealing, probably one of the toughest opponents in the league and showed his commitment and how much he cared to want to make sure the team was going to do well.
‘He’s continued to get his head down and work pretty hard. We trust it’s going to go really well for him but hey, Championship games are pressure games, and you know it’ll be great seeing him respond to the challenge and I’m confident he’ll respond in the right way.’
Elsewhere, Wes White returns to the match-day 23 after a short injury and Welshman Ioan Davies is also on the bench just days after the full-back arrived in the island on loan from Newport-based Dragons.
Reds go into tomorrow amid
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a purple patch, having only lost once in their last seven fixtures – to promotion favourites Ealing – and are yet to lose at home this season. They have not beaten Scottish at home in the league for four seasons, going back to a 20-15 win in November 2017, and the Biljon feels its crucial they don’t stumble in the battle for promotion.
‘If we look ahead and at promotion, it won’t matter, all we need to worry about is London Scottish. Every game in the Championship is tough so lets focus on Scottish and afterwards it is a huge challenge going to Bedford on Boxing Day with the crowd they have,’ he added.
‘Lets enjoy the tough, physical challenge Scottish will be because if we look around or where we want to be, we’ll miss out on the moment we’re in right now. They have improved and there is no doubt with the size of their pack and their style of play, the conditions this time of year suits them so we’ve got to prepare for that and I trust and know we’ll have a tough physical challenge on Saturday.
Kick-off tomorrow is at 3pm.