Reds flying high
A PERFECT four wins and 20 points leaves Jersey Reds well-placed to secure their ambition of a home quarter-final in the Championship Cup.
Saturday’s 38-7 success away to Richmond assures Harvey Biljon’s side of a quarter-final place in February, but the Reds know they still have work to do in ensuring the knock-out stages commence on home turf, with home advantage granted to the three pool winners plus the best-performing runner-up.
The round four results set the scene nicely for a potentially decisive encounter with Ealing Trailfinders – who won 29-15 against London Scottish to move to 17 points – at Stade Santander International this Saturday.
The only major down-side to the trip to the Athletic Ground was a nasty-looking injury in the closing stages to the talismanic Jerry Sexton. Previously outstanding with some eye-catching running, handling and even a grubber kick to go alongside his ‘day-job’ work in the tight and at the breakdown, the Irishman was writhing in agony before being carried off. Sexton’s initial reaction after the final whistle was to hope that there’d been no major damage, but he will need further assessment before a return date can be pencilled in – all in the Reds’ camp hope this will not be too far into the future.
Otherwise the head coach was a happy man, albeit showing his trademark reluctance to get carried away by a ten-match winning run.
‘We produced a really controlled first half, and although we knew Richmond would start the second half with some emotion because they were behind on their home ground, our defence was excellent and we were able to launch attacks off the back of that,’ he said.
‘We wanted to produce more of an 80-minute display, and it was pleasing to deliver something closer to that, albeit that there are still things that we need to learn from and improve in order to compete with Ealing in our next game.’
Biljon was also pleased to see the new interpretation of the high tackle law had not affected his side, who conceded just nine penalties, with no yellow cards, in contrast to the previous outing, when four of his players were banished.
Richmond director of rugby Steve Hill admitted Jersey had deserved their win, and is now likely to be focusing on the league, with Richmond having just one bonus point in the cup so far and highly likely to be one of the four sides who do not progress to the knock-out stages in the new year.
Match reports in Monday's JEP.
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