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
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.
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.
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
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
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
The Greene King IPA Championship this
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
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
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
"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!
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.