Jersey up to eighth with win in Penzance
JERSEY REDS head coach Harvey Biljon was understandably delighted as his charges extended their recent run of good form in dogged style, surviving a second-half surge from the Cornish Pirates to secure a 19-15 success.
That win moved the Islanders up to eighth in the Championship standings – two points behind the hosts – who claimed an 11th bonus point for their efforts in the process.
‘That was a tremendous effort from both sets of players – those were very, very tough conditions,' said Biljon. 'But I am absolutely delighted to come away with the victory.'
Indeed they were – as seems to be the case whenever the Reds and the Pirates meet on Cornish soil of late. Which may explain some of Jersey’s more inventive preparation, which included training in specifically created muddy conditions. But the pitch itself – although heavy following recent and plentiful rainfall – held up remarkably well.
It was, however, influential in deciding the eventual outcome, as Jersey’s pack began to take control soon after Will Cargill had given the hosts a ninth-minute lead with a penalty.
Biljon continued: ‘Both scrum and maul time today was where the platform was set. I don’t think it was day for much rugby – in fact we joked before the game that it was more a day for mud wrestling. I think we did very well to go into the break 12-10 up – especially playing into that wind – it gave us the edge going into that second half.’
And so it transpired. Tries from Max Argyle and Nick Selway – the former converted by the returning skipper Scott Van Breda – had earned them a lead they weren’t to relinquish. This despite a riposte from home fly half Cargill’s try and conversion – sandwiched in between.
Hooker Selway’s second score – following another destructive maul – proved to be the decisive score.
Full report in Tuesday's JEP.
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