With the exception of losing to University Vandals 13 minutes into injury time, the most galling defeat was to Tottonians at home.
With the referee about to blow the whistle, Jersey kicked the ball to the smallest man on the pitch – Tottonians’ replacement winger – who had an easy, unchallenged run to the line.Tottonians had turned defeat into an improbable victory.
So, not surprisingly, and even though the game is away from home, JRFC coach Dai Burton wants revenge.’Revenge out front and a calm attitude behind the pack,’ is how he explained it, even though he has had to select a new back-row and a new pairing in midfield.Injuries to veteran Ian Troy and Gary Hirst have meant that Mark White and Ross Allan form an as-yet untried centre partnership, with pace on both wings in the form of Mark Le Mottée and Steve O’Brien.’I’ve been trying to work on a pattern for the whole squad, so they know what kind of rugby we want to play,’ Burton said.
‘They should know it by now – it’s half-way through the season – but we aren’t helped if players don’t turn up to training.’Ideally, I’d like to pick a team according to how I want to play against the opposition, not according to availability.’Even so, he is fairly confident.
He takes a big pack to Tottonians and neither Allan nor White are afraid to tackle.
They also both possess, in Burton’s words: ‘a safe pair of hands’.If Tottonians try to defend wide, Jersey will attack down the middle, and vice-versa, and Burton was pleased with his 2nd XV last week, when they scored tries after two or three phases of keeping possession by stretching the Banks wide and running the ball around them on their way to a win.’If I need to speed the pack up I might move O’Brien into the back row,’ he said.
‘But we have our set moves.
All I’d really like, in the New Year, is consistency.’Team: Ken Moore, Josh Chamier, Jon Brennan, Roger Quirk, Danny McAlister, Chris White, Ian Henderson, John Allo, Paul Nayar, Phil Walker, Ross Allan, Mark White, Steve O’Brien, Mark Le Mottee, Steve Mee.
Replacements: John Larose, Darren Toudic, Jim Milner.