Turf wars, groundhogs and dead
Groundhog Day isn't until February 2nd, but with Jersey and
Leeds squaring up for the fourth time in as many months, it may
seem like it's arrived early at St Peter this weekend.
Jersey currently hold a 2-1 lead after three games in the
four-match series, encompassing the Championship and B&I
Arriving on the Island for the 'third test' in December, Leeds
were most probably unaware of the superb state of Jersey's pitch at
the start of the season, and the fact that the final quarter of
2012 was well on the way to being the wettest ever on the Island.
And then it started raining at 9pm on the Friday night, and was
still chucking it down at breakfast the following day, as a result
of which it's fair to say the visitors weren't licking their lips
when they arrived at St Peter.
Not surprisingly the pitch was beyond heavy and a match was
likely to do it considerable damage. But Leeds were already here,
and crucially the referee had no concerns about it being dangerous,
so the game went ahead, with raindrops - or were they tears? -
rolling down the cheeks of groundsman Myles Landick as he joined
the squadron of volunteers forking the pitch (and cursing the
forkin' weather while they were at it).
Fortunately the rain had at least stopped by kick-off time, and
conditions were certainly nowhere near as bad as other games that
spring to mind. The World Cup semi-final in Durban in 1995 anybody?
Or if that's too far in the past, what about Biarritz v Connacht in
the Amlin European Water Polo Championship four weeks ago?
Leeds left Jersey, having declined an invitation that they stay
for Christmas, with a losing bonus point and optimistic thoughts
about having a new back yard to play in when they got home: the
Headingley pitch had been relaid and was supposedly ready for the
visit of Plymouth Albion last Sunday. But unfortunately this wasn't
the case, and with the new turf cutting up badly at scrum-time,
referee Matt Carley ruled it was dangerous and ordered uncontested
scrums after quarter of an hour's play.
Carley's decision wasn't a popular one, but nevertheless the
incident was an embarrassing one for the home side, who face an RFU
investigation following a complaint from Albion, and have already
had to switch the venue for next weekend's B&I tie against
The other major development since the teams last met was Leeds
the New Year's Eve announcement that fly-half Rory Clegg (below)
was joining on a dual-registration/ loan deal from Harlequins. The
23-year-old made more than 80 Premiership appearances, mostly as a
replacement, during his time at Quins and previous club Newcastle.
He made an immediate impact against Plymouth, looking assured and
contributing 14 points from kicks, and home supporters will be
looking forward to seeing him in action on St Peter's firm turf for
this weekend's 'final test.'
Ultimately this may not be a season-defining occasion, but
Jersey followers who don't think a 3-1 record over a club of Leeds'
size and pedigree, in a debut season at this level, should perhaps
audit the levels of their own expectations.
Kick-off, please take not, is at 4pm rather than the usual time
for Jersey home games of 3pm as the opposition are flying in on the
day, arriving at around lunchtime.
News from the Jersey camp
Jersey's Director of Rugby has made significant changes to his
Jersey squad, pledging that there are places up for grabs for the
Just six of the starting line-up from last weekend's
disappointing league defeat against Moseley are in the XV for the
B&I fixture. Harvey denies this is a matter of rotation, or
resting certain players, saying there is an opportunity for those
selected to grasp.
In the backs, Tom Cooper and Ross Broadfoot both start after
coming off the bench at Moseley, with Mike Le Bourgeois switching
Partnering the returning Donovan Sanders on the wing will be
18-year-old Chris Levesley (below), making just his third 1st XV
appearance of the season having come on as a replacement against
Bristol and Leinster 'A'.
The Jersey pack sees the front-row replacements from last
weekend swapped with the starting trio, while Rob Anderson gets a
run-out at lock in place of skipper Nathan Hannay and Paul Rodgers
replaces Graham Bell at flanker. Hannay and Bell will be on the
bench, alongside the three front-row players, scrum-half Brendan
O'Brien and full-back/ winger Glenn Bryce.
New loan signing Joe Buckle, a dual-registration deal with Bath,
is unavailable for the game: having played for Cornish Pirates in
the B&I earlier in the season, the 19-year-old flanker is
classed as 'cup-tied' and cannot play for another team.
Jersey squad, sponsored by Locate Jersey and jersey.com
1 Richard Barrington
2 Charlie Clare
3 James Gethings
4 Rob Anderson
5 Dave Markham
6 Paul Rodgers
7 Kingsley Lang
8 Guy Thompson
9 Nicky Griffiths
10 Ross Broadfoot
11 Chris Levesley
12 Tom Cooper
13 Dai Bishop
14 Donovan Sanders
15 Mike Le Bourgeois
16 Sean McCarthy
17 Dave Felton
18 Jon Brennan
19 Nathan Hannay
20 Graham Bell
21 Brendan O'Brien
22 Glenn Bryce
The two sides have already met twice this season, firstly at
Headingley on Friday September 7th. A lively first-half finished
13-13, with Jersey registering a maiden Championship try courtesy
of a fine run by Guy Thompson, with the ball taken on by Donovan
Sanders and fed to Mike Le Bourgeois for the score. The home side
had opened the scoring through debutant Josh Griffin.
Sadly for Jersey, the promise of the first half didn't endure, and
two tries by skipper Jacob Rowan (top scorer this season with five)
and another by Jamel Chisholm helped Carnegie pull clear to
eventually win 32-19. A more detailed report can be found here.
At York's Clifton Park ground on October 21st, Jamel Chishol
scored the only try of the first half of the B&I tie, but
Jersey led 15-10 at the break courtesy of five Mike Le Bourgeois
Guy Thompson and Donovan Sanders scored the second-half tries that
gave Jersey a little breathing space, and the Islanders hung on for
a deserved win in spite of a late rally that brought the hosts back
within range. Another more detailed report can be found here.
The third 'test' was at St Peter three days before Christmas, and
yes it was muddy. Jersey trailed 3-10 at the break, old boy David
Doherty getting the only try, and their prospects looked bleak
early in the second period, but two tries in six minutes around the
hour mark turned the match on its head: a superb burst through
midfield by Guy Thompson created room for Max Stelling to claim
Jersey's first, and in the home side's next serious attack, sparked
by Ed Dawson and Dave Markham's run, the Leeds' pack had no answer
to Jersey's power and conceded a penalty try.
Doherty scored a second try after Matt Clark's searing run to
reduce Jersey's lead to 20-17 and set up a nervous finale, but the
home side hung on. More details may again be obtained - see here.
Leeds Carnegie: the season so far
Leeds went through a summer of change after finishing their
2011/12 campaign in late April. There were plenty of departures
from the club at the end of a disappointing season back in May but
perhaps the most significant change came right at the top of the
club. Paul Caddick handed over the reins to Sir Ian McGeechan, the
British and Irish Lions legend, as the new Executive Chairman of
the club. McGeechan has a hands-on role with the club to spearhead
a drive for new sponsorship, support and development for the club
in the years ahead, to try and establish Leeds Carnegie amongst the
elite sides in the country once again.
There were also changes in the coaching team. A very familiar face
was missing from the dug-out after Team Manager John Carey left the
club after nearly 20 years outstanding service to the club. Chris
Gibson was appointed as Director of Rugby and Mark Luffman
relinquished his first team coaching duties to turn his focus back
entirely to the crucial work of developing the club's Academy.
Former Manchester and England Counties coach Dave Baldwin was
recruited as forwards coach, whilst former player Jon Pendlebury
joined the Academy coaching staff after being forced to retire in
On the field the changes were also far-reaching. Senior players
such as Lee Blackett, Scott Barrow, Mike MacDonald and Danny Paul
have left the club whilst last year's Young Player of the Year
Tommy Bell opted to join London Wasps after his season-long loan
from Sale Sharks last season. In total 27 players left the club
from last season.
In their place came 14 players, the biggest contingent being four
from Championship runners up Cornish Pirates. Three of those are
Yorkshiremen, notably David Doherty returns to the club where his
career began before stop off points at Wasps, Sale, Jersey and the
Pirates. Ben Hooper is another with connections to the club as the
younger brother of former skipper Stuart.
Leeds have looked to inject pace into their backline with two
signings from Rugby League in the shape of Jamel Chisholm from
Leeds Rhinos and Josh Griffin from Castleford Tigers whilst there
is plenty of power up front with Lee Imiolek and Joe Graham joining
on loan for the season from Sale and Newcastle respectively along
with French powerhouse Damien Tussac from Toulon.
Leeds played pre-season games against Wasps and Newcastle Falcons,
losing 23-50 and 19-52 respectively, before their opening weekend
clash at Nottingham.
The Yorkshire side, who apparently have the youngest squad in the
Championship, took an early 20-3 lead thanks to tries by full-back
Steve McColl and captain/ open-side Jacob Rowan. However the home
side narrowed the deficit to 17-23 at the break and then pushed on
in the second half to lead 34-26. Joe Ford's late penalty gained a
bonus point for his side, although this would have been snatched
away had James Arlidge landed a last-gasp effort of his own.
The opening part of the season continued in mixed fashion, the
home win over Jersey being surpassed by a breathtaking 50-31 defeat
of Bristol and a 42-7 trouncing of Doncaster; however Carnegie also
went down narrowly to Plymouth at Brickfields and heavily to
Newcastle at Kingston Park.
Resuming league action after the first wave of B&I fixtures,
successive away games yielded a defeat in Cornwall at Pirate hands
and a win in Richmond against London Scottish. Carnegie then got
the better of Rotherham and Moseley, but suffered a heavy 25-45
home defeat to Bedford.
The Bedford game was abandoned due to a pitch that was becoming
dangerously frozen, but the result stood with 65 minutes (five more
than the mimimum threshold) having been played. This was one of
four games played on 'out grounds' in Yorkshire while the pitch at
Headingley was being relaid during the rugby league off-season.
Carnegie are due to be back home for the visit of Plymouth on
Leeds Head Coach Diccon Edwards, 39, is a former player (76
appearances) and Academy Manager at the club, appointed to his
current role after the departure of Neil Back in summer 2011.
Edwards has made ten changes to his side to face Jersey.
Only winger Matt Clark and fly half Rory Clegg remain in the
backline from last week's team that beat Plymouth at Headingley
Carnegie. Oli Goss returns after illness whilst Pete Lucock, Curtis
Wilson and Christian Georgiou get the chance to impress in the
backline. Craig Hampson swaps places with James Doherty at scrum
In the forwards, Damien Tussac, Dominic Barrow and Ryan Burrows
are retained whilst Ben Harris, Joe Graham, Matt Smith and Chris
Walker start this week after coming off the bench against Plymouth.
University of Leeds Chemistry student Pierce Phillips returns to
the second row after featuring in both games against Pontypridd in
the last round of the British & Irish Cup.
Five players were in the starting XV at St Peter three weeks ago:
Georgiou, Goss, Barrow, Tussac and Burrows, with only the latter
two wearing the same shirt.
15. Christian Georgiou
14. Matt Clark
13. Oli Goss
12. Pete Lucock
11. Curtis Wilson
10. Rory Clegg
9. Craig Hampson
1. Ben Harris
2. Joe Graham
3. Damien Tussac
4. Matt Smith
5. Pierce Phillips
6. Dominic Barrow
7. Chris Walker
8. Ryan Burrows
16. Phil Nilsen
17. Sam Lockwood
18. Rob Baldwin
19. Jacob Rowan
20. James Doherty
21. Joe Ford
22. Stevie McColl
Leeds Rugby Union: a potted history
The history of Leeds Carnegie is a cocktail of different aged
components, matured separately before being combined during more
recent times and blended into a series of modern interpretations.
One of the great northern combinations, like Bradford &
Bingley, Trueman and Statham, and, er, Ant 'n' Dec.
Headingley Football Club were founded in 1878 and played games on
Cardigan Fields, site of the current ground. The club withstood a
lean spell for rugby in Yorkshire during the early part of the 20th
Century, and after the Great War, but in the 1930s was prospering
with excellent facilities, impressive results and representative
Two notable names from the 1960s were Ian McGeechan and John
Spencer. The latter was last encountered by Jersey in the club's
trip to Yorkshire in January of this year, when they played the
Wharfedale club of which he is now President, while McGeechan's
career has gone full circle and he is now back at Leeds as
In the 1980s Peter Winterbottom was the most notable Headingley
player of his era, winning 58 caps for England and seven for the
Lions. His father John, a member since 1950, also played a key role
in the history of Leeds, brokering the merger with Roundhay that
led to the formation of Leeds RUFC in 1992.
Roundhay were formed in 1924 and had a golden era in the 1950s
which included a first-ever appearance in the Yorkshire Cup Final.
The loss to the Royal Signals was finally avenged in 1975 when
England internationals Richard Cardus and Keith Smith helped
Roundhay defeat Headingley 20-16 in a replay which followed a
Merger discussions were initiated by John Winterbottom with a view
to forming a single, much larger club from Headingley, Roundhay and
Morley. Morley subsequently withdrew, but the merger was finalised
in July 1992 with the first game played two months later.
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, and 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, inspite of the presence of
star names like Justin Marshall and Gordon Bulloch in the
The most recent incarnation of the club saw Leeds Carnegie formed
in 2007 after the club returned to the Premiership and formed 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 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). Last season's crowds dropped to an average
figure of 2,314, third highest behind Bristol and Bedford and just
ahead of Cornish Pirates.
In May 2009 it was announced that the club was re-structuring with
former Wales and British Lion international Gareth Davies joining a
new board of Directors, and Leeds Rugby taking control of the club
In order to attract further financial support for the club, Leeds
Met has returned its 51% stake in the club to Leeds Rugby and
agreed a revised strategic partnership arrangement, which includes
sponsorship. The name of the club remained as Leeds Carnegie
Davies, who is a former Chief Executive of Cardiff RFC and BBC
Wales Head of Sport, is the new Dean of the Carnegie Faculty of
Sport & Education at Leeds Met and he will represent the
university on a new board, which is headed up by Paul Caddick, the
property and construction entrepreneur and former Headingley lock,
Coming to St Peter
Tickets for the match are £15 for adults, £10 for Jersey members
on production of a membership card, £3 for juniors (13 to 16
inclusive) and free to those aged 12 and under. These will be on
sale at the club shop between 10am and 1pm on Friday. The £3
concession rate will also be available to any full-time student on
production of the appropriate identification.
Tickets will be on sale on the gate from 1pm on Saturday, with the
ground and facilities open from then onwards. There will be no
Friday night reception at the club this week.
Recent wet weather means parking will be once again be available
on the Airport Field on Avenue de la Commune (that's the main route
from the airport to Red Houses). Access is opposite the two petrol
A courtesy shuttle bus service will operate between the Airport
Field car park and the club, starting at 1pm (ideal for lunchers
ahead of their 1.30pm meal) and running until 6.45pm.
Spectators are urged to allow extra time to access the car park or
consider other means of transport such as taxis, a lift, or the bus
(services #9 and #15).
Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey v
Leeds through the following channels:
• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey from 5.30- 6pm on Friday, and live
commentary on Saturday afternoon from 2pm (available online and on
your transistor-wireless device)
• Preview in Friday's JEP, more rugby in Saturday's
Inside Centre pull-out, and full match coverage on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
• Match report on Channel 103 straight after the final whistle on
Saturday, plus updates during the match
• Reports and match action on Channel TV online and on Monday
evening at 6.15pm; and on BBC Channel Islands on Monday evening at
The B&I this weekend
Two of the eight groups are all over bar the shouting, with
Bedford and Newcastle nailed on to qualify as winners of pools 2
and 4 respectively, even though the Falcons lost two points for
playing an ineligible player. Pirates (pool 3), Moseley (6) and
Munster (7) are favourites to win their groups - one more win would
That leaves the greatest interest in pool 1, where Ulster (17
points) host Bristol (18) in a likely group decider on Friday, and
pool 8, where west Walians Llandovery (15 pts) have significant
advantages over Doncaster (12) and Nottingham (11) and can seal the
deal with two more wins.
Plus of course pool 5, where the winner is likely to be decided,
bar a slip-up in the final round (or extraordinary results
mentioned in 'And Finally'), at Donnybrook in Dublin, where
Leinster 'A' host Pontypridd on Saturday at 2pm, with both teams
locked together on 15 points. Leinster will be keen to avenge a
last-minute defeat from their trip to Sardis Road in October.
The four pool winners with the best record after the group stages
have been completed will receive home advantage in the
quarter-final draw against a randomly-drawn qualifier from the
teams ranked 5th to 8th.
Moseley v London Scottish, Pl6, 19:30
Ulster v Bristol, Pl1, 19:30
Aberavon v Munster, Pool, 14:30
Bedwas v Neath, Pl2, 14:30
Cardiff v Bridgend, Pl1, 14:30
Doncaster v Nottingham, Pool, 14:30
Gala v Llanelli, Pl6, 15:00
Jersey v Leeds Carnegie, Pl5, 15:00
Leinster v Pontypridd, Pl5, 14:00
Llandovery v Melrose, Pool, 15:00
Newcastle v Connacht, Pl4, 15:00
Newport v Cross Keys, Pl4, 14:30
Plymouth Albion v Rotherham Titans, Pool, 15:00
Stirling County v Bedford, Pl2, 14:00
Swansea v Carmarthen Quins, Pl3, 14:30
Cornish Pirates v Dundee High, Pl3, 14:00
Can Jersey qualify? The simple answer is: "No, they can't." In
fact a quarter-final spot is possible, all that needs to happen is
* Leinster and Ponty draw (no try BPs tho')
* Jersey beat Leeds with a bonus point
* Jersey beat Ponty with a bonus point, while denying the Welsh
* Leeds beat Leinster 5-0 (on match points)
* With three sides level on 17 points, Jersey (currently -29
points) make up deficits on Leinster (+62) and Ponty (+25) to
triumph in the tie-breaker
But anyway, returning to the original question, and an identical
answer: "No, they can't."
Usually other rugby on Jersey at the weekend is mentioned here,
but sadly all the games scheduled have been cancelled for various
reasons, so apart from the main event it's European action on
television. Well done to Banks Ladies however for a whopping win
over Harlequins last weekend.
Enjoy your weekend's rugby
23 Mar 2023
January lessons show danger of banana skin in SW London