AUSTRALIAN wing Ben Woollett may joke that his first British winter is proving difficult to swallow, but if Saturday’s three-try performance is anything to go by, he is acclimatising just fine.
The Jersey Reds back was once again in the limelight as the Championship club bagged another bonus-point victory on their return to league action at St Peter – making it eight wins from eight to stay two points adrift of fellow title challengers Ealing Trailfinders at the top of the second tier.
Following a mid-term break for cup commitments, the Islanders continued where they left off with a 34-19 triumph over Richmond, with Woollett claiming a hat-trick after having one touchdown chalked off for an infringement in the build-up.
Director of rugby Harvey Biljon and head coach Rob Webber will do well to keep hold of the 25-year-old if his form continues in this vein; form which has stemmed from tactical freedom.
‘I’m pretty lucky that our backs coach [Tom Williams] gives us back three the license to roam around and get our hands on the ball wherever we can,’ Woollett explained on Saturday evening. ‘It’s good for us to pop up wherever we find ourselves useful and I got myself in the right spots at the right time today.
‘It’s a bit colder than I’d like, to throw the ball around, but we work a lot on our skills and we back ourselves in any conditions.’
The mercury had reached just 4C by kick-off, although a moderate easterly breeze added a sharper edge.
‘I said to the boys today that I think this is the coldest weather I’ve ever been in,’ Sydneysider Woollett added. ‘I don’t think I ever went on a cold holiday growing up.
‘I was ready to walk out here with my trackies on to play, but the boys were getting up me, so I wasn’t allowed.’
Meanwhile, Biljon commended the efforts of his 23-man squad as a whole, as they contributed to six tries that were all claimed by backs.
‘We’re a team that tries to find a balanced game, where we can play through or around the opposition,’ he said. ‘That is underpinned by the set-piece and we want to make sure those functions set up anything that goes out wide.
‘We have transferred some of what we trained through the week into the game, which is encouraging, and we’ve come away with five points against a team that is pretty “nuggety”.’