Slowik’s late try ends Exiles’ unbeaten run
A LAST-GASP try by Auguy Slowik clinched a stunning win for Jersey over previously unbeaten Championship top dogs Jersey Reds.
With the clock in over time, the Reds found some final reserves of energy and Brett Herron broke through and slipped the ball to Slowik for his second try of the game.
Harvey Biljon raced to embrace his captain, former London Irish man Jerry Sexton, at the final whistle and afterwards the Reds head coach admitted he was close to tears.
“Jerry and I had spoken beforehand about how important this game was for him, and the team,” he said. “We scored some great tries, including one from behind our try-line, but there were also some big moments at the other end – some of our defence was exceptional.”
The opening exchanges were attritional, with halfchances for both teams but also a series of errors. If the first quarter was evenly-balanced, the second was a one-way tide of green towards the Jersey line.
Pressure came from a series of scrums and forward drives, and Jersey No.8 Janco Venter was yellow-carded for killing the ball at a ruck.
With the hosts down to 14, Irish seized the moment and scrum ball was worked to Stephen Myler, whose back-handed pass left Topsy Ojo with a straightforward diving finish in the corner. Myler added an tough conversion from the touchline.
The home side were under more pressure after half-time, losing possession from the restart and having to withstand another wave of Irish pressure. The ball was lost forward, but Jersey were still a man down and faced an anxious scrum on their line.
Although possession was secured from the setpiece, Will Homer found himself behind his try-line and threw caution to the wind. The Reds scrum-half launched his back-line, Aaron Penberthy gained ground towards half-way and found his team-mates lining up in support: replacement Brett Herron, then James Newey and finally Slowik to complete a memorable 100m try.
However the sizeable contingent of Irish supporters were soon celebrating again as their team crossed for a second try, skipper Josh McNally breaking through and finding back row colleague Blair Cowan to finish under the posts.
A nine-point deficit looked ominous for the Reds, but when Leroy Van Dam raced around Ojo to finish in the corner, a thrilling conclusion was in prospect.
With strong impact from the bench, the Reds were in the ascendant, but looked to be running out of time. Penberthy set up good positions with his kicking, and although Jersey’s maul was stopped, the Reds retained possession and eventually Slowik applied the finishing touch.
It extends his side's winning run to six games and moves them to third in the Championship table.
London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney said Jersey’s win was welldeserved.
“They scored three tries to our two, and kept going to the end,” he said. “Both sides were really going at it, and the better side won today. We’ve got away with it in a few games, but today was Jersey’s day.”
Clincher: Auguy Slowik scores the winning try late on for Jersey
Slick hands: Stephen Myler puts in Topsy Ojo’s try