Jersey 21 Leicester 34
Tigers were made to work hard for their victory as Championship
newcomers Jersey battled tenaciously against their illustrious
Both sides were playing their first match of the new campaign,
in stifling heat, and it was the visitors who made the quicker
start with a straightforward try from a forward drive. Jordan Crane
claimed the points in his first game since missing the entire
2011/12 campaign through injury.
The lively Micky Young found space to burst clear for Tigers'
second try, converted by George Ford.
Jersey began to compete more effectively, in spite of an erratic
lineout, and a spell of pressure culminated in hooker Steve Boden
driving over. Tigers replied with a second try for Crane.
Vereniki Goneva was among the new signings on show for Tigers,
and the Fijian showed devastating pace to cut through the Jersey
defence and release fellow winger Scott Hamilton to score in the
Approximately 20 new players entered the fray after half-time,
with Leicester's Pat Phibbs making the most immediate impact. The
Australian seized a loose ball and easily outwitted Jersey's
replacement scrum-half Joel Dudley in a waltz to the line.
Things looked ominous for Jersey, but the home side played with
real vigour, their display built around a more solid set piece.
First Nick Trower forced his way over after a series of forward
drives, and then a superb break from Glenn Bryce saw the full-back
go close, with a Leicester forward seeing yellow for preventing
The reduced Tigers' pack was shoved backwards by the Jersey
forwards and when the scrum went down, a penalty try was awarded to
the home side.
The Islanders sniffed the possibility of a famous win, but when
an attack broke down, Leicester countered with lethal effect, going
almost the length of the field for another debutant, Adam
Thompstone, to score in the corner.
"There were a lot of mistakes from both sides, and it became a
bit disjointed after the break, but it was our first hit-out and
will provide a reference point for the remainder of pre-season," he
said Tigers' Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill. "I had no problem
with the penalty try - if you are a man short, and you get pushed
back like that, and it goes down, you deserve to be punished."
More than 4,500 people packed into Jersey's St Peter ground,
their only complaint - one probably shared by the match officials -
being Leicester's decision to play in unnumbered shirts.
Tries: Boden 27, Trower 67, Penalty 73
Conversions: Broadfoot 27, Le Bourgeois 67, 73
Tries: Crane 3, 30, Young 20, Hamilton 37, Phibbs 51, Thompstone
Conversions: Ford 20, 30
Ashburton Star Men: Nicky
Griffiths (Jersey); Matt Smith (Leicester)
Jersey: Bryce, Haughton,
Sanders, Le Bourgeois, Dawson, Broadfoot, Griffiths, Barrington,
Boden, Evans, Hannay (capt), Anderson, Clyde-Smith, Thompson,
Vaoileti. Subs: McCarthy,
Felton, Gethings, Markham, Nihill, Trower, Dudley, Cooper, Bishop,
Hamilton, Smith, Symons, Goneva, Ford, Young, Balmain, Hawkins,
Castrogiovanni, Andrew, Cain, Deacon, Thorpe, Crane. Subs: Chuter, Brookes, Harris,
Bower, Wells, Salvi, Phibbs, Cornwell, Lewington, Murphy,
31 Mar 2023
Five games remain to define Championship season