Welcome to this festive and environmentally-friendly preview,
incorporating at least 50% recycled material.
Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back Into The
In St Peter's fair city
They all sing this ditty
And we first set our eyes on sweet David Fel-ton
He pushed Leinster's scrummage
On a pitch rather narrow
Crying Cockles and Mussels, Alive, Alive-o!
Just eight days after Part One of the Jersey/ Leinster 'duology',
get ready for the sequel this Sunday.
There is no fixed interval between a movie and a sequel, but eight
days is at the rapid end of the scale, closer to the time-lapse
between Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions
(six months apart in 2003) than the generation's gap between
The Hustler (1961) and The Colo(u)r of Money
Sequels also get various degrees of critical acclaim -
Godfather II and The Empire Strikes Back are
reckoned to have been better than the originals, while
Godfather III and the various other Star Wars
sequels were widely panned.
So let's hope for a decent contest in Part Two. The opening 80
minutes at St Peter may have been more for the purists, inevitably
perhaps given the soft conditions underfoot and the contrast in
styles between Jersey's powerful pack and a more fleet-of-foot
Irish side. But it was compelling, with the result always in doubt
until Jersey's final attack of the game broke down with just a
couple of minutes remaining and Leinster clinging to a four-point
The Irish province's second team aren't the first side to undergo
a period of being second-best to the Jersey scrum this season:
unbeaten Championship leaders Newcastle were up against it in an
even first half at St Peter three weeks ago, while even Leicester
Tigers - albeit in below-strength form - were shunted backwards in
August's pre-season friendly and forced to concede a penalty
Leinster recovered their scrimmage poise in the second period at
St Peter, and it will be this type of performance they will want to
bring in front of their home crowd at Donnybrook, expected to
number around 1,500 and likely to want to watch their scrum go
forwards rather than backwards.
The pool five B&I Cup tie is one Leinster will wish to win to
maintain their positions as favourites to win the pool, with
Pontypridd likely to get a win at home to Leeds at Sardis Road on
Saturday. Jersey know that victory is essential to maintain their
cup chances into the final two games in January.
There is an appetising warm-up fixture for the Dublin fans, as
well as the 70- 80 clutch of Jersey supporters making the journey:
on Saturday afternoon Leinster host ASM Clermont Auvergne in a
crucial Heineken Cup encounter dubbed 'The Christmas Craictacular'.
More than 46,000 tickets have been sold for the game at the Aviva
Stadium - not bad for a curtain-raiser...
Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt has tended to be sparing with the use
of his eight permitted replacements in the Heineken Cup this
season, making three, four and four switches in the three games to
date. Even though the province has around 60 contracted players,
and the ability to supplement this number from provincial clubs,
this could mean some squad members getting an outing against Jersey
on Sunday. This happened in October, with last year's World Cup
scrum-half Isaac Boss one of four players to get a run-out in the
B&I within hours of warming the Heineken Cup bench.
News from the Jersey camp
Director of Rugby Ben Harvey is likely to have one eye on the
festive season when he selects his Jersey squad this weekend. The
Jersey supremo may not be losing sleep over whether to have port or
calvados after his Christmas dinner, or how many pigs-in-blankets
to permit himself, it's more a question of Jersey's Championship
fixtures against Leeds (H - Dec 22) and Moseley (A - Jan 5).
With London Scottish having lost their appeal against a
three-point deduction for playing a 'not effectively registered'
player last month, Jersey are now seven points adrift of
ninth-placed Scots and three behind Moseley and Doncaster, and
hugely determined to improve this situation by the time the Xmas
decorations are taken down.
Harvey has made several changes, but denied it was simply
a case of resting key players ahead of crucial RFU Championship
encounters against Leeds and Moseley over the festive
"Our squad's not big enough to make wholesale changes, but
there are some players carrying knocks who I don't intend to risk,
while other players need game time in order to force their way into
contention," he said.
"We could have beaten Leinster first time out, and if we had
done so I don't think anyone would have batted an eye-lid. This is
a strong squad and although it's likely to be another tough
challenge, we are going there to win."
Missing from the first encounter are fly-half Mike Le
Bourgeois, number 8 Guy Thompson, lock Dave Markham, flanker James
Voss and tight-head Jon Brennan. Jersey's scrum dominance in the
first-half at St Peter was centred on a man-of-the-match
performance by the powerful Brennan, and his absence will no doubt
be a fillip to Irish hopes.
Barry Davies will take the number 10 shirt after impressing
in the fly-half role against Newcastle in November, while Glenn
Bryce returns at full-back behind an all-changed three-quarter
James Gethings will start in the front row at the local
stadium to where he grew up on Dublin's south side, while Rob
Anderson starts at lock, Kingsley Lang plays blind-side and Graham
Bell makes his first start since February after returning from
injury off the bench last weekend.
Jersey's bench includes recent loan signings Max Stelling
and Charlie Clare. Leicester Academy hooker Clare is set to make
his first appearance for the Island side on his 21st birthday. Also
among the replacements is Ross Broadfoot, making his first
appearance in a Jersey squad since late September.
STOP PRESS (SAT 0800): Barrington (illness) and
Broadfoot (hamstring) ruled unfit to travel and will be replaced on
bench by Brennan and Bishop.
Jersey squad, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
1 Sean McCarthy
2 Dave Felton
3 James Gethings
4 Nathan Hannay (capt)
5 Rob Anderson
6 Kingsley Lang
7 Fred Silcock
8 Graham Bell
9 Dave McCormack
10 Barry Davies
11 Ed Tellwright
12 Ashley Maggs
13 Donovan Sanders
14 James Copsey
15 Glenn Bryce
16 Richard Barrington
17 Charlie Clare
18 Paul Rodgers
19 Eoghan Nihill
20 Brendan O'Brien
21 Ross Broadfoot
22 Max Stelling
Well yes, actually. Here's how Part One went last weekend:
Jersey 12 Leinster 'A' 16
Jersey built a half-time advantage on the back of a dominant
scrummaging effort but were unable to stay ahead of their
hard-working Irish opponents.
Two tries in three second-half minutes gave a Leinster 'A' a
lead that they never surrendered, in spite of a late fightback by
the home side.
Jersey's pack won a penalty from the first scrum and Mike Le
Bourgeois slotted the kick from 40 metres, adding two more
penalties before the visitors eventually replied in kind through
the boot of Noel Reid.
One successful kick apiece made it 12-6 just before the break
and Jersey maintained their lead thanks to some excellent defensive
Leinster were determined to score first after half-time and
turnover ball in their own half enabled the Irish side to
counter-attack, with Leo Auva'a eventually barging his way over
from close range. Other than the restart, Jersey never regained
possession until a second try had been scored, this time by skipper
Rhys Ruddock at the end of a series of powerful attacks.
Le Bourgeois failed with an attempt to narrow the four-point
deficit with around 20 minutes remaining, but otherwise Jersey
struggled for territory until the closing stages.
Dominic Ryan received a yellow card as the Islanders pressed
for a winning score, but Jersey's scrum was no longer the dominant
unit of the first 40 minutes. Replacement number 8 Graham Bell [a
welcome returnee from long-term injury - pictured below] picked up
and drove for the line, but became isolated and Leinster were able
to clear their lines.
"It was disappointing - we could have won, but turnover ball in
the second half cost us dearly you can't afford that against a good
side," said Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey. "We had
an opportunity at the end against 14 men when the open-side channel
was unguarded but we couldn't take advantage of it.
"I was pleased with our commitment and defence, especially in
the first half, and the scrum was great but overall we just
couldn't do the job."
Jersey: Davies, Maggs, Stelling (Levesley 64), Bishop,
Dawson, Le Bourgeois, McCormack (O'Brien 78); McCarthy (Barrington
67), Felton, Brennan (Gethings 64), Hannay (capt), Markham
(Anderson 27), Voss, Silcock (Nihill 55), Thompson (Bell
Leinster 'A': Marsh, Boyle (Daly 51), Macken, Coghlan,
Byrne, Reid, Cooney (McGrath 67); O'Connell, Dundon (Sexton 67),
Hagan (Moore 60), Denton (Beirne 51), Marshall (Gilsenan 62),
Ruddock (capt), Ryan, Auva'a. Replacement not used:
Leinster 'A' in 2012/13
On the second Saturday of October, when Leinster seniors struggled
to a 9-6 home win over Exeter in a 3pm kick-off, no fewer than four
unused subs from the 23-man Heineken squad were placed into the
squad against Leeds for the British & Irish Cup tie against
Leeds at 7pm, including the afore-mentioned Mr Boss, who has 15
Irish caps. Not surprisingly, Leinster won 47-18.
A week later and there was no opportunity for the same
mixing-and-matching in Wales when the 'A' team took on Pontypridd,
as the fixture clashed with the seniors' game at Llanelli the same
day. This, and a fired-up Welsh side, meant a much closer game with
Ponty snatching it 25-23 at the death thanks to a try by Daffyd
Lockyer. The Welsh centre was rightly excited, tweeting that
"@PontypriddRFC what a game today. Amazing crowd and a amazing
set of boys to play with privlage to be part of it.
#bestclubinWales ". Sometimes you're just too excited to
bother with formalities such as spell-check...
Leinster's line-up is packed with players who have played
international rugby for their country at junior levels, with every
chance that future stars to replace the like of Brian O'Driscoll,
Paul O'Connell and Ronan O'Gara in the Irish side may be on
Irish Under 20 caps include prop Jack O'Connell, centre Brendan
Macken, and scrum-half John Cooney, a former pupil of Gonzaga
College in Dublin, the school attended by Jersey's James
Experience and power is provided from the base of the scrum by
Wellington-born number eight Leo Auva'a (28), who plays alongside
22-year-old skipper Rhys Ruddock, a man with Heineken Cup
experience comprising four appearances and a try against
Changes in personnel are possible in the light of injured players
who are either missing out or close to returning from injury and
movement between the two Leinster sides. The seniors know their
clash with Clermont is almost certainly 'must-win' regarding
qualification for the Heineken quarter finals - they may need a 5-0
(match points) result to get ahead of the French in pole position
in their group, but wins of any size in the last three rounds
should at least ensure qualification as a best runner-up.
Those who may be returning from injury this weekend could
include wing/ full-back Dave Kearney, younger brother of Rob,
centre Eoin O'Malley, and perhaps even Ireland and Lions winger
Luke Fitzgerald. A 40-minute run-out against Jersey for the 'A'
team isn't probable, but if it happens, well you heard it here
The Leinster 'A' team to face Jersey has been named.
Fresh from Dominic Ryan's successful return to action last weekend
against the same opposition which Leinster won 16-12, the province
are further boosted by the return to action of centre Eoin O'Malley
(pictured below) who will make his season's debut.
O'Malley partners Brendan Macken at centre in a side which
blends youth and experience across the various combinations.
Fionn Carr is named on the left wing, with young Kildare back Adam
Byrne named on the other flank, while John Cooney links up at half
back with Noel Reid.
Jack McGrath leads the team and is named again in an abrasive
pack, with wing forward Ryan continuing his back-row partnership
alongside Rhys Ruddock and number eight Leo Auva'a.
There is considerable senior team experience in the 'A' squad
including O'Malley (49 senior caps for his province), Ruddock (44),
Ryan (39), Carr (31), Auva'a (23) and skipper McGrath (24). McGrath
and Carr were unused substitutes in last weekend's Heineken Cup
match in France
Leinster lie level on points with Pontypridd who host Leeds
Carnegie on Saturday.
15: Cathal Marsh
14: Adam Byrne
13: Eoin O'Malley
12: Brendan Macken
11: Fionn Carr
10: Noel Reid
9: John Cooney
1: Jack McGrath CAPTAIN
2: Aaron Dundon
3: Jamie Hagan
4: Ben Marshall
5: Tom Denton
6: Rhys Ruddock
7: Dominic Ryan
8: Leo Auva'a
16: Thomas Sexton
17: Jack O'Connell
18: Tadhg Beirne
19: Conor Gilsenan
20: Luke McGrath
21: Jordan Coghlan
22: Steve Crosbie
A Brief History of Leinster Rugby
In amateur days, the four Irish provinces played against each
other in the Irish Interprovincial Championship and also played
touring international sides. The first Interprovincial matches
between Leinster, Ulster and Munster were held in 1875. At this
time, the matches were played with 20 players a side. Leinster lost
to Ulster by a converted try and beat Munster by one goal to nil.
Since then there has been a match between these teams annually,
with Connacht joining the fold in 1885.
The Leinster Branch of the Irish RFU was officially formed in
1879 in a meeting at Grafton Street in Dublin.
The first official overseas touring side that came to play
Leinster was an Australian touring side in 1957. Since then,
Leinster has played against every major touring side from Fiji to
Before the days of professional rugby union, there was a greater
emphasis on Irish club rugby as opposed to the provincial game.
During these times the provincial sides were purely representative
sides and games were far less frequent than now. When rugby union
was declared 'open' in 1995, these four teams became the four
professional teams run by the Irish Rugby Football Union.
The Heineken Cup began in 1995 and Leinster reached the
semi-finals, one of six seasons in which the province reached the
knock-out stages in the first 13 seasons of the European
competition, without ever making the final.
Finally in 2008/09 Leinster beat Harlequins in the 'Bloodgate'
quarter-final match, and then Munster to reach their first final,
which they won against Leicester 19-16. The following season saw a
semi-final loss against Toulouse, but Leinster have since won two
more European crowns with back-to-back successes over the past two
seasons, overcoming Northampton and Ulster in the finals. Only
Toulouse (4) have won more Heineken titles.
Leinster have twice won the Rabo Direct Pro 12 (Celtic) League,
formerly sponsored by Magners, in 2002 and 2008, as well as being
runners-up on four occasions. Last season's bid for a Heineken/ Pro
12 double was thwarted by a last-minute try by the Ospreys in the
Pro 12 final, the Welsh side winning 31-30.
Leinster 'A' have competed in the British & Irish Cup every
year since its inception. After failing to qualify for the
knock-out stages in 2009/10, they lost 50-15 the following season
in a quarter-final at Bedford. Last season they beat Ponty at the
quarter-final stage only to be edged out by Munster in the
semi-final 36-29 after extra time.
It was a pleasure to welcome former Ireland fly-half (they call
them outhalves on the Emerald Isle) Paul Dean (pictured below) to
St Peter last weekend as one of Leinster's official
representatives. Paul won 32 caps for his country between 1981 and
1989, including the inaugural World Cup in 1987, and toured
Australia with the Lions in 1989.
Talking of World Cups, Jersey prop James Gethings, a product of
Gonzaga College in Dublin, played alongside the likes of Cian Healy
and Keith Earls in the Irish Under 19 side in the 2006 World Cup
and also captained Irish Universities. 'Geths' has become an
increasingly important member of the Jersey pack since his arrival
in January 2012 - he may be better-known for his work in the tight
than his match-winning tries. But check out this match report from
2004. And see the proud skipper pictured with the Irish
Universities side below.
Two former players from the renowned Wanderers club in Dublin will
be on the Jersey bench, namely Brendan O'Brien and Eoghan Nihill.
The pair were born on the other side of Ireland in Limerick, but
moved to Dublin as students.
Not involved, but no doubt a keen spectator, will be Steve
O'Brien, older brother of Leinster and Ireland's Sean. Injury
checked the older brother's rise towards possible representative
honours in his late teens, but he since moved to Jersey and played
for the Island side for a decade, including more than 250
appearances. His retirement last April left prop Jon Brennan as the
only Jersey player to be involved at 1st XV level since before the
first professionals came to the Island in 2006.
At one stage earlier this season there was the tantalising
prospect that Sean O'Brien might be using the B&I Cup games
with Jersey as part of his return from a hip injury suffered in
June, but in fact he was back in time for two Pro 12 appearances in
late November, leading to a place in the Heineken Cup squad this
weekend. As a by-product of this, Steve's plans for a one-off
comeback were also shelved.
Donnybrook was formerly the main home ground of Leinster
Rugby - the province now play games at the nearby RDS Arena (and
occasionally at the Aviva Stadium), but still use Donnybrook for
Leinster 'A' and friendly games. It is also used for schools' rugby
- this week James Gethings' old school Gonzaga lost the Leinster
Schools Senior League Final to Roscrea by 18-14 at Donnybrook.
The ground is used as the home ground by two locals clubs, Old
Wesley and Bective Rangers, and has a capacity of 6,000. This
includes a main stand holding around 2,500 spectators, which was
completed in 2008.
Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey v
Leinster through the following channels:
• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey from 5.30- 6pm on Friday, more
build-up in Saturday's Sportscene programme from 2pm and
live commentary on Sunday afternoon from 2pm (available online and
on your transistor-wireless device)
• Preview in Friday's JEP, more rugby in Saturday's
paper, and full match coverage on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling
Maul' rugby forum, as well as the Leinster Fans forum
• Reports on Channel TV on Monday evening at 6.15pm; and on BBC
Channel Islands on Monday evening at 6.30pm
The B&I this weekend
Bedford and Newcastle look set to be the first clubs to nail down
quarter final places if they maintain their current momentum and
secure a fourth straight win of this B&I campaign. Munster 'A'
can't make mathematically sure this weekend, but they'll be
virtually home-and-hosed with a win over Rotherham.
While English and Irish representation in the last eight seems
certain, Scots' hopes rest with Gala in pool 6, while Llandovery,
Carmarthen and Pontypridd have the only realistic prospects of
keeping the Welsh flag flying in the quarters at the start of
Friday 14th December
Munster A v Rotherham, Pool 7, 19:00
Bristol v Bridgend Ravens, Pool 1, 19:45
Plymouth Albion v Aberavon, Pool 7, 19:45
Saturday 15th December
Melrose v Nottingham, Pool 8, 13:45
Dundee HSFP v Carmarthen Quins, Pool 3, 14:00
Cardiff v Ulster A, Pool 1, 14:30
Bedwas v Stirling County, Pool 2, 14:30
Connacht A v Cross Keys, Pool 4, 14:30
Pontypridd v Leeds, Pool 5, 14:30
Llanelli v London Scottish, Pool 6, 14:30
Doncaster v Llandovery, Pool 8, 14:30
Bedford v Neath, Pool 2, 15:00
Moseley v Gala, Pool 6, 15:00
Swansea v Cornish Pirates, Pool 3, 16:30
Sunday 16th December
Leinster A v Jersey, Pool 5, 14:30
Newcastle Falcons v Newport, Pool 4, 15:00
Other Jersey rugby action this weekend sees LQ Lydian Lions have
their annual 'Overs/Unders' challenge match - this game is at St
Peter at 12noon on Saturday.
On Sunday Jersey Colts will have their final match of 2012, an
away Hampshire League match against Trojans. Let's hope they go
into Christmas on a winning note.
And Some stirring words from former Ireland lock Neil
Francis in his preview of the Leinster v Clermont game:
These are high stakes now and I think Clermont do not relish
coming here on Saturday. Dry mouths and uncertain minds have always
existed in the Clermont ranks. They should have won five or
six Boucliers (French championship titles) in the last
eight or nine years. There is a reason why they've only won one.
They don't like it up 'em.
What Leinster have to do this Saturday is take Clermont by the
balls and squeeze so hard that their toes turn in and you hear a
sound of broken crockery from them as they limp across the paddock.
A sustained blitzkrieg from the start is what is awaiting Clermont.
Unfortunately blitzkrieg without the points is of no value.
Leinster have a disturbing habit of feeling their way into some big
games. I always feel that for some teams - particularly like
Clermont who have half a dozen players who will run out the gate -
if there is uncertainty and unyielding pressure, particularly in
the first 30 minutes, they will throw their hands in the
Enjoy your weekend's rugby!
21 Sep 2023
Chiefs visit Stade for first-ever Jersey encounter