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Reds confirm end-of-season departures

18/05/2023

With the 2022/23 season having finished, Jersey Reds are confirming a number of departures from the 1st XV squad, with the club keen to acknowledge all the players who contributed to a massively successful campaign.

The Reds lost just one of their 22 league games in storming to the RFU Championship title, secured over the last two weekends of April as nearest rivals Ealing Trailfinders were beaten at Stade Santander International, and the finishing touch applied with a home win over Ampthill. League success was followed by a tilt at a league-and-cup double, but Ealing prevailed in the Championship Cup by defeating the Reds 35-31 in the final on their home patch.

Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon said: “Unfortunately there are always people who will be moving on, and I want to acknowledge those who won’t be back in the summer when we begin preparing for the 23/24 campaign.”

Brendan Cope

The South African will depart after seven seasons as a Red, from 2015-18 and 2019 to the present, after amassing 111 appearances and almost 700 points, but having to call time on his career as a result of a long-standing injury.

Biljon said:

"Brendan was one of my early signings and made an impact straight away, winning coaches' player of the year in his first season – he's been a huge asset to the club both on and off the field.

“He stood out as a silky attacker and great defender, maybe not the loudest guy in the dressing room, but the way he went about his business in a professional manner earned him huge respect and made him a really well-liked member of the squad. I’m sure he'll do well in whatever is next.”

TJ Harris 

Harris will leave the Island after four seasons in which he made 53 appearances as a hooker and scored more than 30 tries, most recently in the Championship Cup final. The 29-year-old will return to England and intends to start his transition to a career outside sport as a quantity surveyor, combining this with part-time rugby.
Biljon: “TJ has made a massive contribution to the club both on and off the field, he’s the life and soul of the group and his enthusiasm is infectious, he’s going to leave a big hole.”

Ryan Hutler

The winger will depart after three seasons in which he made 22 appearances, and has signed for Championship rivals Coventry.

Biljon: “Ryan’s time here has been significantly affected by injury, but we all know about his ability as a finisher and I’d expect him to show this again in the future when he’s able to play a run of games.”

Will Brown

The Reds’ top try-scorer in the Championship this season, with 14, Brown is set to depart after two seasons as he approaches a half-century of appearances. He intends to continue his rugby career in England on a part-time basis while completing a degree in Sport Management at Loughborough University.

Biljon: “Will is such a committed individual, he’s someone I’d always want in my squad because he will always deliver – we’re sorry to be losing him.”

Tom Everard

Everard made around 30 appearances across two seasons on the Island, but was denied the chance of a cup final farewell when he suffered a broken ankle in the semi-final game against Cornish Pirates.

Biljon: “Tom has definitely developed as a player during his time here, and I think there’s lot more to come from him – we wish him well in recovering from his injury and getting back on the field.”

Tom Pittman

The fly-half will depart after two seasons in which he made 22 appearances for the Reds.

Biljon: “Tom has a great attitude – he has shown real character and discipline during his time here, always fronting up at every session, whether in the gym, on the training pitch or during matches.”

Hamish Bain

The second row will depart after a year on the Island, making 17 appearances.

Biljon: “Hamish is a player I’d love to have been able to keep, he has gone about his business in a really professional manner and been a great addition to the squad, as I’m sure will be the case wherever his career takes him next.”

James Dun

After an impressive season-long stint in Jersey on loan from Bristol Bears, Dun will head back to the west of England after making 25 appearances for the Reds, scoring four tries across league and cup matches. The 23-year-old won two awards at the conclusion of the season, voted as Players’ Player by his peers and named by the coaching team as their Forward of the Season.

Biljon: “Someone else who’s had a huge impact, James has really invested in Jersey Reds, and as a result of that he’s excelled on the pitch and as a member of the squad – I think he’s well-placed to push his career on further once he’s back in Bristol.”

Josh Gray

The back row man has made 13 appearances during his season on loan from Gloucester.

Biljon: “Josh is a passionate and committed individual who’s made a big contribution – you could forget he’s still only 21 and I believe has the potential for great things in the future.”

Tomi Lewis

Another departing winger, Lewis has earned an opportunity in the top flight and will return to his native Wales to re-join the Scarlets after a successful season that brought him 13 tries in league and cup amid a total tally of 25 appearances. He was also named in the Championship Team of the Year.

Biljon: “Tomi has made an exceptional impact here and really re-built his career after setbacks prior to making the move to Jersey – he has really grown as a player and his dancing feet have made him one of those players who excites the crowd.”

Biljon also acknowledged and thanked departing scrum-half Luke Davies, who moved to the Island on a short-term deal at the end of March and played in the Championship win over Doncaster Knights.

Around 30 players from the 2022/23 squad are set to return when the squad report back for pre-season training at the end of June, with a clutch of new signings set to be confirmed soon.

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