Jersey Reds 27 RC Vannes 17

29/07/2018

A new-look Reds' squad began the 2018/19 season with an accomplished win over 'local rivals' from the French second-tier.

The Island hosts gained revenge for a 38-14 in Brittany 12 months against Vannes, outscoring the visitors by three tries to two in a competitive encounter at Stade Santander International.

Fly-half Brett Herron was among the Reds' debutants to impress; after an early penalty by Chris Hilsenbeck for the Breton visitors, his chip ahead led to a try for James Newey. Herron's penalty extended Jersey's lead, but another attacking kick was plucked out of the sky by Vannes' full-back Pierre Popelin who raced downfield only for the Reds' fly-half to track back and do enough to dislodge the ball. Popelin also threatened to release wing Pacôme Goujon for a try but the pass was ruled forward.

The Reds had their moments and looked to use attacking lineouts to get their rolling maul into action, but were thwarted, and back row man Janco Venter was stripped of the ball to end a promising attack.

The Reds had been committed in both attack and defence' knitting together well for a first outing and committing minimal errors. The penalty count was even in the first half, estimated at 6-5 in terms of penalties conceded, but the visitors were heavily penalised after the break, conceding 10 more penalties as opposed to just two from the Reds.

The Reds' lead was wiped out on the stroke of half-time when an attacking Vannes' maul was stopped illegally and a penalty try awarded by referee Craig Maxwell-Keys.

After multiple half-time substitutions, the home side raised their game and established dominance in the forwards. This led to a stream of penalties for the Reds, and eventually two tries from mauls, the first from Jack Macfarlane after a 20-metre rumble, and then a penalty try when the maul was brought down illegally.

Herron's second penalty stretched the lead - this was a game the Reds definitely wanted to win - and although Vannes responded instantly from the restart, the loose ball picked up and taken to the line by flanker Jérémie Abiven, Jersey held their lead until the final whistle. The contest lost a little intensity in the closing stages, although there were still opportunities at both ends: Leroy Van Dam going close for Jersey after gathering a kick ahead, and then RCV replacement Faraj Fartass superbly tackled by Mark Best as the try-line beckoned.

The Reds had been committed in both attack and defence, knitting together well for a first outing and committing minimal errors. The penalty count was even in the first half, estimated at 6-5 in terms of penalties conceded, but the visitors were heavily penalised after the break, conceding 10 more penalties as opposed to just two from the Reds.

Reds' Head Coach Harvey Biljon said he was pleased to see his new squad stepping up for their first outing.

"We'd said that today would be a chance to find out a lot about our players, and what we found out was good," he said. "A lot of the hard work put in over the last seven weeks paid off, but there's a long way to go and I'm not going to get over-excited.

"Fair play to Vannes they could have resorted to a kicking game in the second half with the wind behind, but they continued trying to play rugby and made it a real contest."

RCV Head Coach Jean-Noël Spitzer said: "The atmosphere was good, much better than our first pre-season game last season [against rival Pro D2 side Massy]. For the first 50 minutes we competed well, but Jersey made it very difficult for us after that - I thought their scrum and maul were stronger than when we met last year."

While Vannes have one more pre-season outing, at home to Pro D2 rivals Bourg-en-Bresse before taking on the same opponents in the opening league fixture on August 17th, the Reds are building towards back-to-back home games next month: Harlequins visit the Island on Saturday August 11th, with kick-off at 7pm, and then Old Elthamians are the opponents for a 3pm kick-off the following Saturday.


Jersey Reds

Tries: Newey 11, Macfarlane 59, Penalty Try 64
Conversions: Herron 11, 59
Penalties: Herron 27, 68

RC Vannes

Tries: Penalty Try 41, Abiven 69
Conversion: Cailat 69
Penalty: Hilsenbeck 6

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Attendance: 801
Half-time: 10-10
Men-of-the-match: Brett Herron (Reds); Fred Hickes (RCV)

Teams as announced:

Jersey Reds

1st Half

1. Roy Godfrey (capt)
2. Nick Selway
3. Alec Clarey
4. Dave Mckern
5. Charlie Beckett
6. Max Argyle
7. Jake Upfield
8. Janco Venter
9. Hilton Mudariki
10. Brett Herron
11. Josh Hodson
12. Mark Best
13. James Newey
14. Leroy Van Dam
15. Jason Worrall
 
2nd Half

1. Cameron Holenstein
2. Jack Macfarlane
3. Leeroy Atalifo
4. Adam Batt
5. Rory Bartle
6. Janco Venter/ Max Argyle
7. Graham Geldenhuys
8. Kyle Hatherell
9. Will Homer
10. Brett Herron/ Mark Best
11. Josh Hodson
12. George Eastwell
13. Koch Marx/ James Newey
14. Leroy Van Dam
15. Auguy Slowik


RC Vannes

1st Half

1. Sunia Vola
2. Cyril Blanchard
3. Paga Tafili
4. Etienne Delangle
5. Javier Lagioiosa
6. Carwyn Jones
7. Hugh Chalmers
8. Kitione Kamikamica
9. Clément Payen
10. Christopher Hilsenbeck
11. Pacôme Goujon
12. Kevin Burgaud
13. Fred Hickes
14. Gwenaël Duplenne
15. Pierre Popelin

2nd Half

1. Rémi Seneca
2. Leeroy Cloostermans/Pat Leafa
3. Pierre Maïau/ Phil Kite
4. Andrew Cramond
5. Rémi Picquette
6. Jérémie Abiven
7. Wandrille Picault
8. Kitione Kamikamica
9. Jules Le Bail/ Tim Menzel
10. Yann Cailat
11. Faraj Fartass
12. Alexandre Mourot
13. Jean-Baptiste Pic
14. Anthony Bouthier
15. Pierre Popelin

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