A cup cruncher

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DIRECTOR of rugby Harvey Biljon admits Jersey Reds have little ‘room for error’ as they prepare to embark on a decisive three-week Championship Cup stint.

The Islanders welcome old foes Ealing Trailfinders to St Peter tomorrow [2pm kick-off] knowing that another heavy group-stage defeat could have serious repercussions on their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

Ealing, Doncaster and Cornish Pirates are the three group leaders at the halfway stage of the group campaign, with three wins from three apiece, while Jersey are currently the best-placed runner-up, following bonus-point victories over Hartpury and Nottingham and a 22-13 defeat to the Premiership hopefuls in November.

However, the league schedule has thrown up a host of surprises so far this term and those twists and turns could likely spill into the cup melting pot.

Two more bonus-point wins may not be enough to see the Islanders into the semi-finals.

‘It’s a tough cup competition, with the way it’s designed, and there is not much room for error,’ said Biljon. ‘We’ve lost one game already so these games are hugely important if we want to go through.

‘What’s been really good is we’ve not got caught up in who we’re playing this week, but we do understand that it is Ealing and that we have had two extra tough games against them already this season, both away from home.

‘It’s important for us to get as many supporters up as possible for what will be a top, top-level Championship game.’

Biljon has made just two changes to the XV which started against Cornish Pirates last Saturday, with loosehead Greg McGrath replacing Sam Grahamslaw and centre Dan Barnes coming in for Jordan Holgate.

‘We need to make sure we find the best balance going into this game, while looking ahead to the remainder of the cup campaign,’ Biljon added.

‘We do want some guys to continue as they did perform very well last week, but at the same time we are looking at the weeks ahead. There will be rotation through the Hartpury and Nottingham games.’

The Reds have lost 11 games in a row against the London club, in all competitions.

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