Irish too strong for Reds

Rugby | Published:

Jersey REDS’ hopes of repeating their giant-killing feats of recent seasons were dashed at the Madejski Stadium by a ruthless display by the leaders of the Greene King IPA Championship.

Max Argyle prepares for contact at the Madejski Stadium Picture: LIAM MCAVOY

The Reds had done a job on London Irish when the Exiles had visited the Island back in November, but the champions elect were not in the mood to be ambushed a second time.

In his first game as director of rugby, Harvey Biljon was forced to admit that his team had come up short.

‘For us it was one of those days, we didn’t get the rub of the green or the bounce of the ball, but you have to give credit to London Irish – they played with purpose and passion.

‘There were times when it was a game of inches, and when we were held up, those were tipping points. We came here with a strategy, but we didn’t have the ball or the territory to execute it, and that meant we struggled to put Irish under pressure – and they took advantage.’

Jersey captain and former London Irish player Jerry Sexton said the players were as disappointed as the coaches.

‘Irish were the better team today, we’re not hiding from that. We were very poor, for a number of reasons – possibly the occasion got to some of the players – and they were pretty ruthless in punishing us.

‘We’ll need to review this quickly and move past it, as we have an important Championship Cup quarter-final next weekend and we know we’re going to be in for a tough battle against them [Cornish Pirates].’

Irish will also be in cup action next weekend, with a home tie against Coventry, and it’s conceivable the Reds and Exiles could clash again in the latter stages of the tournament. But the main focus for Irish remains the league, and they were relieved to have overcome what was potentially one of the trickier hurdles in their path.

The Reds had hoped it would be a formidable barrier, but in the end the Irish momentum was barely slowed.

Full report in Monday's JEP.

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