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Welcome show of spirit, but Irish know-how wins the day

Sport | Published:

IT'S a measure of how intense the focus on Jersey's survival in the RFU Championship has become that the arrival of the European champions to St Peter, albeit Irish giants Leinster's A team, was a secondary attraction on Saturday.

How Jersey would react to a painful defeat away to fellow relegation battlers Doncaster eight days earlier, then the subsequent departure of forwards coach Ben Evans, was of far more interest to the home crowd of just under 1,800 on a bitterly cold day for this British and Irish Cup Group Five match.

Another defeat – Jersey's fourth in a row – was, if not unexpected, still a disappointment in the end, despite gaining a losing bonus point and denying their illustrious visitors four tries. But as a weather check on Jersey's spirit, the 16-12 result came from a performance to give the fans real hope that they will fight with optimism, to the very last day of the season.

Indeed, for most of the first half Jersey looked the more likely winners of this forward-dominated game, gaining the upper hand in the scrum to turn possession into points. Thanks to excellent place kicking from Michael Le Bourgeois, Jersey led 9-0 on the quarter hour and 12-3 after 30 minutes and, while they rarely looked like running past the Leinster line for a try, there was now genuine hope that they could pull off a famous victory.

Full report in Monday's JEP

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