Holders Leinster 'A' guaranteed themselves a B&I knockout
place as pool five winners thanks to a hard-fought win in
The Irishmen were forced onto the back foot in the closing
stages as the Islanders pressed for victory, but showed character
in defence to keep their noses in front at the final whistle.
Jersey were disappointed at a result that almost certainly
spells the end of their chances of qualifying for the knock-out
stages of the B&I, but were able to take heart from a gutsy
performance, answering the questions posed by some critics after
the previous weekend's home defeat to Plymouth Albion.
Jersey had a weight advantage up front and were first to assert
themselves when an attacking lineout led to a rolling maul and a
penalty try. Leinster's threat came from an electric back division
which soon worked Cian Kelleher over for a try in the corner.
The visitors went ahead thanks to a try from scrum-half Nick
McCarthy, and then crucially were able to extend their lead just
before the break when Kelleher grabbed his second.
The Leinster bonus point came early in the second half when
Cathal Marsh darted through the opposing midfield to dot down under
the posts, and a 15-point margin looked like being a winning
To their credit Jersey rolled up their sleeves and battled back.
Mark McCrea's powerful run into the Leinster 22 paved the way to a
series of forward drives, finished by Nacho Lancuba, and then with
seven minutes to go skipper Alex Rae crossed. Two well-struck
conversions by Lewis Robling meant it was a one-point game as the
final stages began.
The Islanders were looking for a winning score and were able to
win the ball and press forward, but the Irish province's defence
held firm to secure the win.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon said: "We were very close to a major
victory, but nevertheless it was a display of character - the boys
were determined to put in a performance today, and they did
"There was some emotion there at the start, but emotion can only
fuel you for 20 minutes or so, and I was pleased that after that
the boys carried on applying themselves and were making good
decisions and getting us into a position where we could have won
Jersey: Jones-Davies, Pointer, Locke, Robling,
McCrea, Penberthy (Foster 54), Glynn (Dudley 54); Lancuba,
Garcia-Veiga, Selway (Herriott 17), Campbell, Rae (c), Haining
(Noone 9), Hodson, Kaho (Markham 41). Replacements (not
used): Harris, Burroughs.
Leinster 'A': Kelleher, Coghlan-Murray (Dardis
79), O'Loughlin, Daly, Byrne, Marsh, N McCarthy (McGrath 75);
Dooley, Tracy (S McCarthy 75), Heffernan, Molony (c), Thornbury
(Beirne 60), Marshall, Van Der Flier, Coghlan (Timmins 71).
Replacements (not used): Loughman, Crosbie.
Referee: Simon Rees (WRU)
Man-of-the-match (presented by match sponsor Columbia
Estates): Mark McCrea (Jersey)
Tries: Penalty Try 5, Lancuba 59, Rae 73
Conversions: Penberthy 5, Robling 59, 73
Tries: Kelleher 7, 36, N McCarthy 26, Marsh 52
Conversion: Marsh 52
29 Sep 2023
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