‘NO HANGOVER’ was the message for Jersey Reds as they showed to all onlookers how to pick yourselves up and go again after beating Ealing last week, by putting in their most complete performance on the road this season.
A Friday night championship cup game under the lights and the cold West Country mist could have thrown several curve-balls, but Harvey Biljon’s side took it in their stride and appeared to have a weight lifted from their shoulders in the way they played.
First-half tries from James Dun, Macauley Cook, Brendan Owen and Ryan Hutler secured the black-shirted Reds the try bonus point before adding three second-half scores with a penalty try, and tries from Tomi Lewis and Tom Everard.
A delighted Harvey Biljon said: ‘This result is testament to the coaches and the whole team. We didn’t want a hangover from the Ealing win, we asked for physicality and we saw that.
‘We’ve got a resilient group, and we knew we had a lot of off-field challenges too, flying over on game day, but we’ll keep the travel the same if we’re going to put on a performance like that.
‘It has been a challenge for this game but we prepared well all week, we acknowledged the difficulty of travelling on game day and we focused on our performance.’
On the near-perfect performance, the director of rugby added: ‘I’m delighted and as pleased at how the scoreboard looks, early on we absorbed some real pressure but our defensive sets we’re excellent and the minute we got the ball in the right areas, we managed to take advantage.
‘We we’re accurate early on, our back three looked dangerous, and that’s testament to the way the players have trained all week.’
‘To go in at half-time with a bonus-point was exciting but we still had a lot to do in the second-half and we saw that as they never stopped throwing the ball around.’
Jersey’s backs covered the injury to fullback Brendan Owen well after the playmaker suffered a broken nose around the half-hour mark, and scrum-half Toby Venner got his debut as a replacement after a 51-week injury lay-off.
Harvey said: ‘The competition for places in the back three is exciting, we’ve still got the likes of Scott Van Breda to come back from injury, and it shows with the way they are performing.
‘We’ve been very lucky this year as we’ve been able to rotate the squad and keep the competition for places high, its driven standards at training and its pushing performances on the field. We’re going to have some real headaches with selection through the coming weeks.’
The back-to-back cup wins, and Jersey’s fourth in a row in all competitions, means the Islanders lay second in Pool A on 20 points and look likely to qualify for the championship cup semi-finals as the best runner-up from the three groups.
Reds’ have one hand on one of the four spots, and with it in their control, only need two points when Nottingham visit St. Peter’s next week.
But Harvey remains focused, adding: ‘We also need to see how the rest of the results go, a lot of that is out of our control but we’re just focusing on putting on another good result in front of our home supporters next week.
‘We haven’t looked that far ahead to qualifying, we’re staying with the same focus week to week, keep training standards high and transforming to performances on the field.’