Preview & squad for Yks Carnegie (A) 29.3.1527/03/2015
With the clocks going forward and the scalp of high-flying Worcester in their kit bags, Jersey's players head to Leeds this weekend with a spring in their step.
The Islanders take on Yorkshire Carnegie at Headingley on Sunday afternoon seeking to back up one of the stand-out results of this season's Greene King IPA Championship; sealed with a dramatic late goal from 45 metres by full-back Aaron Penberthy, the stunning 23-21 win came over a Warriors side who had won 24 straight games in league and cup.
Unbeaten at home in 2015, the home side will be eager to impress in Bryan Redpath's first game in charge at Headingley. But Jersey also have plenty of incentives: they have never won in Leeds, and know that a win will take them above their hosts in the table with just three rounds of league action remaining. And the Islanders have a tidy record in the White Rose county in 2015, with a win at Doncaster in January and last month's 20-all draw against Rotherham at Clifton Lane.
Jersey Head Coach Harvey Biljon has made minimal changes to his starting XV from the conquerors of the Warriors. Mark McCrea comes back into midfield in place of David Bishop, while the other changes are at prop, with Sam Lockwood (pictured below supported by another former Leeds player, Pierece Phillips) returning to face his old club in place of Nacho Lancuba at loosehead, and Harry Williams back in place of Danny Herriott on the right-hand side of the front row.
Herriott and Lancuba revert to the bench, where there is also a return for Nick Campbell, who is in back in the squad in place of Paula Kaho. Another former Carnegie player, Jonny Bentley, is also on the bench, from where he made a significant impact last weekend.
The two sides have met seven times since Jersey's promotion to the Championship in 2012. The Islanders have won twice - 20-17 at home in December 2012, and a 27-33 success in a B&I Cup game played at York RUFC two months earlier. In the first encounter of the current campaign, Carnegie won a closely-fought match 13-17 at St Peter just before Christmas.
A video presentation of this announcement can be seen HERE and if you missed the
highlights of the Worcester game, they are HERE
Jersey squad v Yorkshire Carnegie 'A' - Greene King IPA Championship, Sunday March 29th, St Peter - k-o 3pm
Alex Rae (capt)
History of Yorkshire Carnegie/Leeds RUFC
While it has plenty of different names, the current club was formed in 1992 as a result of the merger between Headingley Football Club (founded in 1878) and former rivals Roundhay (est. 1924).
The new club climbed the leagues and appointed professionals
Colin Stephens (Youth Development Officer) and Phil Davies
(Director of Rugby) in 1995 and 1996, as well as moving to
Headingley Stadium. In 1998 the modern era truly arrived when rugby
union in Leeds became a brand, namely Leeds Tykes, in partnership
with the city's league brethren the Rhinos. Under the ownership of
Leeds Rugby Limited, by September 2001 the Tykes had reached the
Premiership, then sponsored by Zurich.
The highlights of a five-season stint in the top flight were finishing fifth in 2002/03, earning qualification for the Heineken Cup, and lifting the Powergen Cup in 2005. But the cup success was followed by relegation 12 months later, in spite of the presence of star names like Justin Marshall and Gordon Bulloch in the squad.
The next incarnation of the club saw Leeds Carnegie formed in 2007 after the return to the Premiership as a result of a partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University, who acquired a 51% share in the club. The Carnegie names came from the Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie whose Carnegie Trust funded the establishment of a PE teaching training college in 1933. Carnegie College is now the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education within Leeds Metropolitan University.
Current England Coach Stuart Lancaster (pictured above
during his hairy phase) was involved with the club for 16
years, serving as Director of Rugby before leaving in 2008 to join
the England set-up. He was replaced by Andy Key, while England
flanker Neil Back became Head Coach. The yo-yo existence continued
with two seasons at the top level, attracting home crowds of
between 4,000 and 10,000, followed by relegation in 2011 and a
mid-table performance in 2011/12 (6th in the league, 3rd in
promotion pool B).
In 2012/13, Leeds launched a perfectly-timed run to the play-offs by winning their last six games, and once there they made a fine fist of supposedly unbeatable Newcastle, winning 24-19 at home but losing the second leg 15-6 at Kingston Park.
Last season also ended in the play-offs. While most who follow the Championship remember how London Welsh surprised Bristol in the final, not everyone recalls how close Leeds came to reaching the final: Carnegie led the Welsh by 13 points with just 15 minutes to play, but two late tries, a conversion and finally a Gordon Ross penalty sealed a 60-58 aggregate victory for the Exiles.
The 'Yorkshire Carnegie' re-brand was unveiled in February of 2014 and introduced in July as the players returned for pre-season training.
As well as being closely-matched in the league table, the two clubs have been neck-and-neck in this season's rankings of average home attendances, jostling for fourth place behind Bristol (average league crowd 7,804), Worcester (5,301) and Bedford (2,559). However Jersey have pulled away after the bumper 2,909 crowd for the win over Worcester, and now have an average of 2,086 against Carnegie's 1,942.
The Greene King IPA Championship this weekend
Round 19 starts with a Friday night game at Billesley Common, where 11th-placed Moseley will be looking to widen the gap - currently five points - between themselves and Plymouth Albion at the bottom of the table. The visitors are Rotherham Titans, who confirmed on the eve of the match that Head Coach Lee Blackett would be departing at the end of the season to join Wasps as Backs Coach.
On Saturday the Titans' main rivals for the fourth play-off spot, Nottingham, travel to Doncaster, while Worcester host London Scottish in a possible play-off rehearsal.
On Sunday Albion will continue their bid to avoid relegation by beating their local rivals and bogey side Cornish Pirates, and Bristol seek to maintain their status as league leaders with a home win over Bedford.
See HERE for full preview
Jersey Athletic are back in action this weekend, with a trip to the south coast of England to take on Worthing, with kick-off at 1pm. While Richmond Vikings have already claimed the Zoo Sports Shield title, the Athletic still have hoped of claiming second place with a strong finish to the season.
Glad to see that the trip to Jersey was enjoyed by the hundreds of Worcester fans who came across last weekend - the feedback has been very positive, albeit that the result didn't go their way, and most were very gracious in defeat. A post-weekend discussion point on the Worcester supporters forum has asked where Jersey compares on the club's great away trips, and I liked this tale from one contributor:
"A visit to Penzance in what I think was Warriors' first promotion season, those that were there will not forget the talk by the match day referee in a pub the night before the match organised by the Pirates Supporters Club and the referee's explanation of what happens in the front row; this was demonstrated by two ladies, one of whom was wearing very tight leather trousers. I've know idea what the ref's explanation of front row play was but I do remember very clearly those leather trousers."
The end of the RBS 6 Nations makes the forthcoming Rugby World Cup seem that much closer; in fact just 173 days by the time Jersey take to the field in Yorkshire.
And this week it was confirmed that the World Cup trophy (a.k.a.
the William Webb Ellis Cup or 'Bill' to his friends), would be
coming to the Channel Islands on Friday August 28th, just three
weeks before the tournament kicks off. The exact stopping points
have yet to be confirmed, but hey, even if Bill is going to be in
the rugby hot-beds of Herm, Sark and Alderney, Jersey rugby
supporters won't have to travel far to see him, or could even catch
a glimpse of the sun reflecting off his shiny exterior from across
Enjoy your weekend's rugby!