Reds finish on high and focus turns to Munster
JERSEY Reds secured the club’s highest finish in five Championship campaigns, getting the better of a proud Richmond side in a game that could have gone either way until the closing stages.
Ross Adair’s interception try with three minutes to go sealed the win, and fifth place in the table for the Islanders, who now switch their focus to Friday’s B&I Cup Final against Munster ‘A’ in Cork.
Head coach Harvey Biljon changed his entire starting XV for the final league outing and was pleased with the efforts of his squad.
“To see out the league season with a five-point win at home was great,” Biljon said. “It wasn’t a classic – we had some difficulty at the set-piece and perhaps some players were if anything trying too hard to get on the plane to Ireland.
“I’m hopeful we survived without injuries and we’ll switch our focus very quickly to Friday’s cup final, which is a massive game for the club.”
In a below-par start, Jersey lost a scrum against the head and then saw Richmond attack via a kick to the corner and a rolling maul, which eventually brought a try for Adam Peters.
The scores were levelled when Uili Kolo’ofa’i somehow evaded Richmond’s defensive radar at a maul and ran unopposed to the posts. Jersey then took the lead before half-time when Max Argyle finished off another maul, taking advantage of a yellow card for Richmond’s Rupert Harden for persistent infringement.
The home side couldn’t convert pressure into points in the third quarter and had their lead pegged back to two points when Cameron Mitchell squeezed over in the corner.
Apakuki Maafu’s chip through the middle set up Jersey’s third try. The Tongan followed up but neither he nor the Richmond defence could gather the ball and Lewis Robling was on hand to score.
With a man advantage after Jersey’s James Voss saw yellow for illegally slowing down the ball, Richmond still would not give up and a great run by Mitchell led to a score by replacement Ali Chisholm, but Adair’s interception gave the home side the final word.
Though disappointed with the result, Richmond director of rugby Steve Hill hailed a committed seasonlong effort by his players.
“All season we’ve shown that we deserve to be in this league; we’d achieved our aim of finishing off the bottom and that’s a great effort by players who have day-jobs and are up against full-timers.”