Five minutes before that they had allowed the home side to come back into the game with a try out wide, when their flanker squeezed over following a ruck 10m from the line.Having already converted a penalty for offside, Uni Vandals were only a try away from a win, and win they duly did, not least because Jersey were a tired team at the end, with only 14 players on the pitch and unable to win the ball from a side which, as coach Dai Burton pointed out afterwards, were ‘on a roll’.
‘The team’s not gelling together as it ought to do,’ he said.
‘We made mistakes, by kicking away possession, and we didn’t test them enough.
The players have got to believe in themselves; our three-quarters need to attack the opposition more; to break down their defence.’From the amount of ball we had in the first half we should have scored more points.
The back row worked well together and, apart from the last ten minutes, we were dominant in the scrums.’But we gave away too many penalties, and we missed Arnou for more than the ten minutes he was sin-binned for.’In truth, Arnou Helmholt-Kneisel, sin-binned for being persistently offside, was off the pitch for almost 20 minutes – however whether he would have made much difference to the final score is another matter.The last try was scored through the forwards, as Uni Vandals’ first try had been, when one of their props burrowed through a ruck with five minutes remaining.The truth of it was, however, that for most of the match Jersey had looked the better team.
Only in the dying minutes did they cave in, by which time, with the amount of possession they had enjoyed in the first half, they should have been sitting on a much bigger lead than four points.But, at half-time, the score was a modest 3-3 – Jon Swift converting a Jersey penalty after Vandals had taken the lead.Then, in the second half, with ten minutes played, Ian Henderson scored running left to right, after the ball was won in the line-out with full back Mark White coming into the line.Jon Swift converted to make it 10-3 before, a few minutes later, John Allo – who was hugely influential throughout the game – picked up, passed to Paul Nayar who, in turn, passed to Christian Butler who scampered through to score.Swift converted from wide out to make it 17-3 with less than a quarter of the match to go.A year ago that would have been the final score – Jersey’s defence at the start of last season was awesome – but this year they have given away too many points, too easily, although they are not as bad a side as their ‘no points’, from two league games played, might suggest.And Burton isn’t too depressed after their defeat.
‘I’m not too concerned,’ he said.
‘Teams at the top will lose more games this year.
I just wish the players would believe in themselves more.’Jersey RFC: Marcus Nobes, Doc Snook, Ken Moore, Roger Quirk, Danny McAllister, Chris White (Ross Allen), Ian Henderson, John Allo, Paul Nayar (Phil Walker), Jon Swift, Christian Butler, Steve O’Brien, Arnou Helmholt-Kneisel, Jim Milner, Mark White.