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News 2012-13

Preview to Leeds (H – Ch’ship)

21/12/2012

Hunger could decide festive battle

Pre- and post-match analysis of rugby games often talks about
the team that 'wants it more'...

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but has no place in a preview,
and without the benefit of it, it's hard to say which team will be
hungrier when battle commences at St Peter.

The visitors last won four weeks ago in a Yorkshire derby
against Rotherham, since when they suffered a heavy home defeat to
Bedford, and back-to-back cup losses against Pontypridd. Defeat is
almost certain to see Leeds shunted out of their top-four play-off
berth by a Bristol win over Doncaster on Sunday.

But if Leeds are hungry, Jersey should be positively ravenous.
The Islanders' last win was at home to London Scottish on November
3rd, since when there have been five defeats of various
types - narrow losses against Doncaster and Leinster (part 1),
plucky against Newcastle, and heavy against Bristol and Leinster
(part 2).

Jersey are propping up the Championship table, but know that
there's a chance to make up ground on rivals Doncaster and Moseley
(both three points ahead) and London Scottish (seven points clear
after their recent deduction), all of whom have tough away
assignments on Sunday.

Both teams slipped out of contention in the B&I following
their successive defeats over the past fortnight, and it's fair to
say the league has always been a clear priority for both. Squads
will be restored to as close to full strength as their respective
injury lists will allow, and the two sides will be going all-out
for the win.

A heavy pitch is likely after continued wet weather in Jersey in
the build-up to the match. This may not make for a flowing
spectacle, but a compelling tussle is likely in pursuit of a
victory that would be the most prized item under each side's
Christmas tree.
 

News from the Jersey camp

Jersey will field a strong side as they bid to end 2012 on a
winning note against Leeds Carnegie. The only RFU Championship game
of the day kicks off at 3pm at St Peter tomorrow.

Ben Harvey has bolstered the squad in key areas for the return
to league action following back-to-back Heineken Cup games against
Leinster 'A'.

Flanker Fred Silcock is missing after sustaining a knee injury
at Donnybrook in Dublin last Sunday, but otherwise the injury news
is positive for Jersey, with several players returning to
action.

At half-back, Nicky Griffiths will partner Mike Le Bourgeois,
while in the centres Dai Bishop is selected alongside 18-year-old
loan signing from Worcester, Max Stelling, who will make his third
appearance in Island colours.

On a pitch that is likely to be heavy following further wet
weather, Jersey's forwards are likely to have a major role to play.
Jon Brennan is back at tight-head, Dave Markham gets the nod at
lock ahead of Rob Anderson, and a reshuffled back-row sees Guy
Thompson back at number 8 while Graham Bell switches to the
flank.

'We feel that this is as robust a side as we are able to put out
- these are the boys in form,' Harvey said.

Bobby Try

Director of Rugby Harvey has opted for a 5:2 split of forwards
and backs on the Jersey bench, with perhaps the hardest decision
being the exclusion of experienced scum-half Dave McCormack in
favour of Brendan O'Brien (pictured above scoring against Leinster
last weekend). Harvey will be looking for a repeat of the result
when Jersey played Leeds at York RUFC in a B&I game in October.
Jersey were 33-27 victors that day, having started the season with
a 32-19 league defeat to Carnegie at Headingley in September.

Jersey lie bottom of the RFU Championship as the second half of
the season begins, but know they will go up two places with a win,
as rival clubs are not in action until Sunday.

Jersey squad, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
jersey.com

1 Sean McCarthy

2 Dave Felton

3 Jon Brennan

4 Nathan Hannay (capt)

5 Dave Markham

6 Graham Bell

7 Kingsley Lang

8 Guy Thompson

9 Nicky Griffiths

10 Mike Le Bourgeois

11 Ed Dawson

12 Dai Bishop

13 Max Stelling

14 Ashley Maggs

15 Glenn Bryce
 

Replacements

16 Richard Barrington

17 Charlie Clare

18 James Gethings

19 Rob Anderson

20 Eoghan Nihill

21 Brendan O'Brien

22 Donovan Sanders
 

Any previous?

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 penalties.

DSC04055

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.
 

Leads about Leeds

Leeds Carnegie 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 (below), 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.

Geech1

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 the summer.

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
January 5th.

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 rewarded 20-year-old back Christian Georgiou and
19-year-old forward Dominic Barrow for impressive performances in
the B&I Cup with a spot in the team to face Jersey this
Saturday in the Championship.

The game will be the first time that Leeds have played in Jersey
but they have already faced the Channel Islanders twice this
season. Leeds won a hard fought battle at Headingley Carnegie in
round two of this year's Championship before losing to Jersey in
the B&I Cup game at York.

Georgiou, who played at full back and fly half in the two games
against Pontypridd, will start at centre in place of the injured
Josh Griffin, whilst long term injuries to Richard Beck, Dan
Hemingway and Mike Myerscough give Barrow the chance to impress in
the second row.

Hooker Phil Nilsen will become only the 16th player in the
club's history to make 100 appearances in all competitions whilst
David Doherty will return to the club he played for two seasons
ago.

The squad in full is:

15. Stevie McColl
14. Oli Goss
13. Christian Georgiou
12. Fred Burdon
11. David Doherty
10. Joe Ford
9. James Doherty
1. Sam Lockwood
2. Phil Nilsen
3. Damien Tussac
4. Calum Green
5. Dominic Barrow
6. Rob Baldwin
7. Jacob Rowan (c)
8. Ryan Burrows
Replacements
16. Joe Graham
17. Lee Imiolek
18. Ben Hooper
19. Matt Smith
20. Chris Walker
21. Craig Hampson
22. Matt Clark
 

What's up, Doc?

Doc

Jersey will face former winger David Doherty. The Yorkshireman
began his career with Leeds in 2004 before moving on to Sale and
Wasps. He spent seven months on the Island in 2010/11, making 19
appearances and scoring 19 tries. He even had a few pops at goal,
landing three conversions and a penalty. His last touch of the ball
in a red shirt was the final try against Loughborough in the
National Two play-off, before he moved to Cornish Pirates in summer
2011.
 

Leeds Rugby Union: a historical cocktail

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 honours.

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
Executive Chairman.

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
13-all draw.

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
squad.

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 once again.

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
RUFC.

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,
as Chairman.
 

Coming to St Peter

There'll be festivity in the air at St Peter, with seasonal
toons, mulled wine, mince pies and a half-time parade of youngsters
led by Santa. 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 12noon on Saturday,
with the ground and facilities open from then onwards. The usual
Friday night reception at the club will be from 5.30 to 7.30pm.

Recent wet weather means another unavoidable change to parking
arrangements at JRFC this weekend. With pitches 2, 3 and 6 ruled
unfit for vehicular access, parking will 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
stations.

A courtesy shuttle bus service will operate between the Airport
Field car park and the club, starting at the earlier time of 12noon
(ideal for lunchers) and running until 5.45pm.

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
forum
• Match report on Channel 103 soon 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
6.30pm.
 

The Championship this 'weekend'

Sunday: Newcastle v London Scottish (live on Sky TV),
Bristol v Doncaster, Nottingham v Moseley

Wednesday (Boxing Day): Plymouth v Cornish Pirates,
Bedford v Rotherham
 

And Finally

There's just one more fixture on the Island in 2012: players are
being encouraged to turn out for the traditional Boxing Day
match.

Taking place on Wednesday December 26th, the occasion
will offer the chance to run off some of the excesses of Christmas
Day in a fun match.

The game is being organised by club stalwarts Mick Mayo and Bob
Shambrook. The exact composition of the teams will be finalised on
the day, but the match is likely to be a 'native' Jersey XV taking
on a team of 'imports'.

It's expected some members of the 1st XV squad will
be on hand to support the two sides, but the pro players won't be
taking part, leaving an occasion suitable for all ages (from 17
upwards) and abilities.

Anyone who would like to take part should come up to the club at
St Peter with their kit at 10.30am on Boxing Day. The match is
expected to kick-off around an hour later, and all spectators are
welcome, with the clubhouse open for warming post-match drinks.

Enjoy your weekend's rugby, and have a great Christmas and
even better 2013

Tom Innes

Christmasimagecut

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