Harvey Biljon: Jersey Reds boss expects Championship season to go ahead

Harvey Biljon
Harvey Biljon has been in charge at Jersey Reds for seven years and signed a new contract through to 2024 12 months ago

Jersey Reds director of rugby Harvey Biljon expects the Championship season to go ahead as scheduled despite the latest nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

English rugby's second tier is classed as elite sport by the UK government and is due to begin on 6 March - almost a year after the last round of games.

The 12 sides will split into two pools, with the winners playing off.

"Hopefully we can get some games in February in preparation for the season," Biljon told BBC Radio Jersey.

"We're all trying to do things in a very different way and we've got to make sure it's safe to do so."

The news comes after the Rugby Football Union suspended all rugby immediately below the Championship, along with all women's rugby below the Premier 15s and all youth rugby.

The island side face the added dimension of having to fly to England for matches and bringing teams to Jersey for games.

Currently people coming to the island from the UK mainland have to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days and provide three negative Covid-19 tests in that time, but Biljon is confident the measures put in by both teams will mean his side will be able to have an exemption from the rules.

"We've got to make sure all our exemptions and permissions are in place first, we want to get things right on that front," he said.

"We'd only be playing against an opposition that are fully tested and are negative going into a game.

"We'd fly out on the day, play against a team that's all negative from their tests and then come back on the same afternoon.

"There'll be no social interaction. It's just literally you get there, you play - it' going to be behind closed doors at this stage until we know different - and then back."

One of Jersey's opponents in the pool stage will be former European and English champions Saracens, who were relegated from the top flight last season after breaching salary cap rules.

In the past Jersey have beaten the likes of London Irish, Worcester and Bristol when the sides have gone on to return to the Premiership.

"We've got a great track record of beating the teams that get promoted," said Biljon.

"If we can get an opportunity to get supporters there when we play a team like Saracens I think it would be a great event, and let's hope things change quicker than what we expect and we have that opportunity."