Leinster 'A' 26 Jersey 617/10/2014
British & Irish Cup, Pool 5
On a wet and blustery night in Dublin, and having endured a frustrating and delayed travel, Jersey ended up well-beaten by a very solid Leinster side that showed all the credentials that have seen them lift the cup in the previous two seasons.
Playing with the wind advantage to start with, it was Leinster who were first on to the scoresheet with a long range penalty effort. They doubled their advantage before Robling got a penalty back for Jersey with a superb strike into the wind.
Having steadied the ship, Jersey were to fall immediately further behind from the restart as the kick-off was fumbled. Leinster reacted quickest and it was scrum-half McGrath who benefitted with a soft try that was easily converted.
Byrne added another penalty for Leinster before Jersey, who had been under pressure in the front row and had conceded a number of penalties were reduced to 14 as Nacho saw yellow.
Jersey held out for that 10 minute period, and it was just after Nacho returned to the side that McGrath crossed for his second try. Jersey were in possession in their own 22, but a Glynn box kick failed to clear effectively and having retrieved the loose ball, Leinster reacted fastest to extend their lead.
The most extraordinary period of play of the night was the 15 minutes of play that took place before the half-time whistle. Jersey were camped on the Leinster 5m line and despite numerous penalties and reset scrums that saw two of the Leinster front row sent to the bin, the referee did not award a penalty try. There was even time for one of those players to return to the fray before Leinster were finally and surprisingly awarded a penalty as the clock struck 54 minutes. The hosts kicked to touch and the whistle went.
Jersey desperately needed to assert themselves quickly in the second half, and although they scored an early penalty, and in spite of plenty of possession and territorial advantage, the crucial try did not come.
Leinster restored their 20 point lead late on in the half, and even the fresh legs from the Jersey bench could not instigate a Reds' score. Griffiths looked lively with a few sniping runs from quickly-taken penalties, but it was all to no avail.
At the close when interviewed, Head Coach Biljon refused to be drawn on the subject of the 'PT not-given' and instead rued the missed opportunities when Jersey did have possession.
The result sees Leinster move above Jersey at the top of the Pool with Camarthen and Plymouth set to play tomorrow.
Carmarthen Quins beat Plymouth 29-16 (3 tries to 1), so Jersey stay in 2nd place after two rounds. Next week's trip to Plymouth is a 'must-win' to keep Jersey's B&I cup alive at the half-way stage.
Report by: William Church
Leinster: Kelleher, Coghlan-Murray, O'Loughlin,
Crosbie, Byrne A, Byrne R, McGrath (C), Dooley (YC), Byrne B (YC),
Heffernan, Thornbury, Molony, Timoney, Van der Flier, Coghlan,
Replacements: Dundon, McGovern, McCarthy, O'Connor, Marsh, Farrell
Jersey: Burroughs, Pointer, Locke, Robling,
Dawson, Bentley, Glynn, Lancuba (YC), Garcia-Veiga, Herriott,
Markham, Campbell, Haining, Hodson (c), Noone
Replacements: Harris, Brennan, Rae, Buckle, Griffiths, Penberthy, Hoskins
Referee: Matthew O'Grady (RFU)
Attendance: 300 (estimate)
Star man: Luke McGrath (Leinster 'A')
Half time: 23-3
Tries: McGrath (2)
Conversions: Byrne R (2)
Penalties: Byrne R (3), Marsh (1)
Penalties: Robling (1), Bentley (1)