Jersey slay battling Dragons to secure home quarter-final
JERSEY REDS powered to a home quarter-final by ensuring they will top Pool 3 of the British and Irish Cup with an emphatic 40-21 victory over a Dragons Select last night (Friday).
Hosts Jersey outscored their young, but talented and game, Welsh opponents by six tries to three, mainly through an overwhelming superiority in the pack – their first three tries coming from powerful foward drives in the first half.
An early penalty try was followed by hooker Nick Selway scoring for the sixth match in succession, once again at the back of a maul. The young Dragons of Newport Gwent were lively in open play though and they soon hit back through scrum-half Charlie Davies.
Selway – now Jersey's top try-scorer – notched his second try of the night, again the last man to rise after a pile of bodies crashed over in the Pavilion Corner. Brendan Cope missed his only conversion of the night (and there were some real tough ones), but Jersey led 19-7 at the break.
With Dragons down to 14 men after the sin-binning of flanker Taine Basham, the Jersey crowd of just under 1,200 were expecting a bonus-point clinching fourth try soon . . . and they were not disappointed, with Jason Worrall steaming over in the Bowl Corner after some great initial work from captain Scott van Breda.
Basham returned to the fray to score Dragons' second try of the night, converted by replacement kicker Steffan Jones. Jersey's forwards, however, soon regained momentum for the home side with yet another penalty lineout-maul try, Rogerson's great work finished off by replacement prop Roy Godfrey in the Airport Corner.
A superb piece of skill and excellent movement from centre Mark Best created the sixth home try, finished by hard-working lock Jerry Sexton by the posts. Van Breda kicked the conversion for a 40-14 lead, but the final word went to the visitors with a fine score from centre Conor Edwards, his try convered again by Jones.
Jersey will have to wait until the final round of pool matches to find out who they will face, but there is the tantalising possibility of it being the cup holders Munster A, who beat the Reds by a solitary point in last season's final.
Now that would be a return-match to savour.