The Reds scored eight tries in chilly conditions under the Friday Night Lights at Stade Santander International to send their supporters home happy.
It was a comfortable win for the home side against a game but outclassed Yorkshire Carnegie side who remain winless at the bottom of the Greene King IPA Championship table.
The Reds were on the front foot straight from kick-off and Brendan Cope soon broke through to score against his former club.
Samoan international Rodney Iona scored his first try for the Reds from a well-worked scrum move and within three minutes had added another. Ryan Shaw slotted a penalty but then Leroy Van Dam crossed in the corner after the ball was quickly spread wide, with Cope handling twice.
To their credit, and deprived of the services of former England wing Tom Varndell after a failed head injury assessment, the Yorkshire squad managed to stem the tide and put their opponents under pressure either side of half-time, resulting in three more penalties for Shaw and a yellow card for Iona for preventing quick ruck ball.
After making several changes the Reds recovered their poise and added four more tries in 18 minutes, starting just before the hour. Lock Kyle Hatherell cantered over after Will Homer’s break and scoring pass, Van Dam added his second from an Auguy Slowik assist and then two rolling mauls brought a penalty try and a score for Nick Dolly.
There was plenty of exciting running rugby to keep the crowd warm, with Slowik, Alex Morgan and James Newey prominent in attack, and impressive efforts from the forwards who were efficient at the set piece, with Zei Alexis putting in a solid 68-minute shift on his first start for the Reds. Cope and his replacement Greg Dyer were flawless from the kicking tee, nailing seven conversions between them including several from wide out.
Although they lost replacement hooker Ben Sugars to the sin-bin for the maul offence that caused the penalty try, Carnegie kept going until the final whistle and a powerful break by James Hasson set up a chance in the corner that was well finished by Alex Humfrey.
Director of rugby Harvey Biljon was happy to see his side atone for disappointing home defeats to London Scottish and Cornish Pirates in recent weeks.
“I’m pleased that we could put on a show in front of our home supporters,” he said. “Our power and speed in the first 20 minutes were excellent, but there was a period in the middle third of the game where we didn’t stick to task and showed a bit of ill-discipline.
“There were opportunities for a few players to put their hands up tonight and create some challenges for me in selection for our games in February and it was good to see them take that chance. Five points ahead of a weekend off – I’m happy with that.”
The Reds will next be in action on Saturday February 1st with an away trip to Bedford, and then return to their home patch on Saturday February 8th when Ealing Trailfinders are the visitors for a games that will kick off at 2pm.
/*pics by Rich Chapman*/
JERSEY REDS: Slowik; Morgan, Spencer (Newey 52), Iona (YC 39), Van Dam; Cope (Dyer 48), Jones (Homer 50); Godfrey (Wayland 61), Harris (Dolly 48), Alexis (Clarey 66), Hatherell (Hallam-Eames 56), Bartle, Joyce, Bainbridge (c) (Upfield 48), Argyle.
YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE: Robins; Lawson, Metcalf, Varndell (Finn 17), Shaw; Lancaster, Green (Turner 68); Davidson (Ademakin 62), Musetti (Sugars 62 – YC 67), Faletau (Ajeyi 62), Brady (c), Bloodworth (Hasson 48), Hill (Smith 56), Humfrey, Els (O’Sullivan 66).
REFEREE: Simon Harding
Tries: Cope 4, Iona 12, 15, Van Dam 24, 61, Hatherell 55, Penalty Try 67, Dolly 73
Conversions: Cope 4, 12, 15, 24, Dyer 55, 61, 73
Try: Humfrey 80
Penalties: Shaw 19, 40, 47, 52