The Knights face Championship new boys Newcastle Falcons this Saturday in their first pre-season encounter at Kingston Park in a match all the players are relishing as the former Premiership outfit attempt to lay the foundations for a title winning campaign and promotion back to the top flight.
One Knight who is relishing the prospect of the Newcastle game in particular, and his first full senior season at one Club solely, is new signing and openside flanker Jethro Rawling.
The former Leicester Tigers’ Academy player ended last season by helping Jersey become the 2011/12 National One Champions and along with the Falcons arrive in the most competitive of Championship to date, but facing our strong northern neighbours he believes will be the biggest ask of the season.
“Newcastle will be a solid first test, which is exactly what we need as the Championship is a very hard league; these types of test highlight what we do well and areas for improvement against a side sure to be running at the top end of the league.
“We have three pre-season games to learn a lot about each other and where we are as a team as there is no substitute for game time.
“These early opportunities to play top sides should hopefully mean we can hit the ground running against Plymouth in the first league game of the season.”
The 20-year-old’s optimism towards the Knights’ preparation extends through the summer and into a tough league campaign which he believes is a very exciting prospect after the heavy groundwork already put in place.
“A strong start is extremely important. If we get out of the blocks quickly we can do really well and, with any luck, achieve our aim of a top four finish and, after that, who knows - anything can happen.”
“Pre-season has gone very well; it’s been tough but enjoyable and very rugby specific. There are a lot of new players and we are all buying into the same thing and learning a lot about each other whilst gelling on and off the field.”
Written by Michael Casey