‘On point’ defence has Biljon purring
JERSEY REDS may have scored five tries to lift themselves up to fourth in the table, but head coach Harvey Biljon was equally delighted with his side’s excellent defending in Saturday’s 41-16 home win over Nottingham.
The Islanders began 2019 with a convincing display at Stade Santander, coming from 9-0 down against a side who trailed them by just a point in the Championship thanks to tries from Brett Herron, Charlie Maddison, Leroy Van Dam, Will Homer and Nick Selway.
‘I think defensively we were absolutely on point’, said Biljon.
‘Our discipline was excellent, but we had spoken a fair bit beforehand about not inviting pressure onto ourselves and making errors in the wrong areas of the field. I think we did that well.’
Herron finished with a perfect kicking record for the Reds, with successful conversions from all seven attempts.
Biljon said: ‘I can’t fault his [Herron’s] kicks. To kick like he did, considering the wind and the fact that some were from maximum distance on the touch-line, was extremely impressive.
‘But for us the fact that we built our score through the first half and then to ensure we secured the bonus point in the second was pretty special – I’m happy, if you’d told me we would get five tries from the game I would take that any day.’
Nottingham were bolstered by talent on loan from Leicester Tigers, including former England international Tom Varndell, the Premiership’s all time top try scorer. They put real pressure on Jersey at times, and it was only the strength of defence that kept them out.
Selway, who came off the bench to grab Jersey's fifth try, said:‘In defence we showed a lot of character, especially when we were defending from ten or more phases, which we were at times. We trusted in our systems and they worked.’
‘We knew Nottingham were a good team and they came out of the blocks well. We made it tough on ourselves at the start, and had a really good battle for the first 15, but then we got it together, found our shape, and went from there.
‘They pushed us, especially in the scrums, but for us forwards we had to right some wrongs from Ealing, and I think we did that well.’
Bedford Blues set up a tremendous visit to Stade Santander this coming Saturday (2 pm) by beating second-placed Ealing 23-18 at their Goldington Road ground. Bedford and Jersey – third and fourth respectively – both sit on 38 league points from 11 games, with Bedford ahead on number of wins (eight vs seven).
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