Reds clear their heads at Beds

IT wasn’t just the sun that reigned on Jersey Reds’ parade as Harvey Biljon praised his side for putting aside their previous frustrations to win in an almost-dominant fashion on Saturday.

George Edgson makes a run for it against Bedford Blues Picture: KEN SPARKS/UK SPORTS PICS
George Edgson makes a run for it against Bedford Blues Picture: KEN SPARKS/UK SPORTS PICS

In perfect bright weather, the travelling side got their first points of the season, putting to bed the back-to-back defeats in London and kickstarting their season before the Easter week off.

The win – Jersey’s first since January last year, and their first away success in eight games – ends a stretch that goes back to their 10-9 win at Hartpury, also in January 2020.

It was crucial to end the drought, as the impact of Covid-19 means Reds are ‘on the road’ for most of the truncated Championship campaign.

Director of rugby Biljon said: ‘We always have a battle at Bedford and today was no different. Absolutely we’re happy. We worked really hard after a great training week and all the hard work paid off.

‘We spoke of concentration at half-time, where we lacked it for two or three moments in the first half and didn’t build on our advantage, which would let them back in, and it played to their strengths. Bedford are dangerous and took their scores well but we tightened up well.

‘I give credit to Bedford, down by two players in the second-half and it was a pretty heroic defence by them. They made us work really hard for our score.

‘We’ll take a lot from that game. There is still a lot for us to learn and work on.

‘Right at the end there we were either coming away with a try bonus-point or they were getting a losing bonus-point. It shows how the game goes right to the end.’

Biljon questioned why Reds weren’t ‘awarded a penalty try’, as on several occasions the driving maul got held up by questionable Bedford tactics.

He added: ‘The most important thing is we’re threatening all the time. That’s what we spoke about during the week, we haven’t been showing our threatening potential or taking our opportunities in our previous games.

‘Today we took our opportunities but there were also a few more out there we should have taken.’

Speaking of his changes from last week, Biljon said: ‘Scott van Breda and Jack Roberts gave us some composure in the midfield, especially with Scott’s experience, and that showed today, particularly from a defensive point of view, as Bedford threatened all the time when on the ball.

‘To hold Bedford back and stay in control defensively, a lot of that came down to what that centre pairing in the middle of the field.’

Bedford head coach, and ex-Jersey captain and assistant coach Alex Rae, said: ‘We’re frustrated, it was a top-start game that never flowed, we wanted to play a with energy but Jersey looked to focus on the set-piece and our flow suffered.

‘Maybe I’m one-eyed, but it felt like we were on the wrong side of some of the 50-50 decisions, and some scrum penalties today when it looked that we were going forward and the referee seemed to just presume with his whistle when he shouldn’t.’

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