British & Irish Cup: London Irish 17-25 Jersey Reds

Jersey Reds
Jersey have beaten Championship leaders London Irish twice in the space of eight days

Jersey Reds booked a place in the British & Irish Cup final by coming from behind to beat London Irish.

The island side were 10-7 up at half-time thanks to a Jordan Davies try at the Madejski Stadium, after Tom Parton had earlier gone over for the hosts.

Nick Haining powered over to extend the advantage, before Ciaran Hearn's score helped Irish edge ahead.

But Callum Sheedy's penalty and Nick Selway's try sent Jersey through to face Munster A in the final in Ireland.

The semi-final was played just eight days after a Championship meeting between the sides, when in-form Jersey inflicted a first league defeat of the season on their opponents.

Both Sheedy and Theo Brophy Clews missed early long-range penalties before the visitors edged 3-0 ahead.

Midway through the half, though, the Championship leaders caught Jersey off guard for the opening try when England Under-20 international Parton eased in down the left wing after a quickly-taken free kick.

Jersey hit back before the break thanks to the power and agility of former Sale centre Davies, who stretched out for the line after good work from Tongan Kuki Ma'afu.

London Irish v Jersey Reds
Jersey have not lost a game in any competition since New Year's Day

The Reds started the second half brightly as Australian number number eight Haining sneaked in on the blindside for his try.

Errors started to creep in to Jersey's play as the prize of reaching the final grew nearer and George Watkins should have gone over for a try but knocked-on, while Sheedy's penalty went dead instead of setting up a attacking line-out.

The Exiles capitalised when Hearn went over by the posts after a series of drives and then Brophy Clews put Irish 17-15 ahead after the Reds strayed offside.

But as the game headed for its climax, Gerard Ellis was sent to the sin-bin for an infringement at a maul and Sheedy bravely took the responsibility to put Jersey back in front.

With a man advantage and time ticking away, replacement hooker Selway burst off the side of a rolling maul for a converted try to seal a 10th consecutive win for his side.

Irish assistant coach Paul Hodgson told BBC Radio Berkshire:

"There's disappointment. We were out to win this semi-final and go on to win the cup.

"For this group of players, it's served a great purpose for us and given game time for those guys who haven't been playing regular Championship rugby.

"I thought the boys showed so much character out there. We wanted to show some physicality and intensity, which we did.

"There were just a few other areas of the game that didn't go our way and we'll have to definitely fix those going forward to the play-offs."

Reds head coach Harvey Biljon told BBC Radio Jersey:

"Who would've thought we could beat London Irish two weeks, back-to-back.

"I think immense credit must go to the players - to back up the physical performances there have been over the past four, five, six weeks is just something else.

"I think today was about, in the second half, rolling up the sleeves and getting on with it, it was just a tough, tough game."

London Irish: Tonks; Cokanasiga, Hearn, Neal, Parton; Brophy Clews, Allinson; Elrington, Gleave, Hoskins, Lloyd, Sinclair, Sexton, Gilsenan (capt), Nayalo.

Replacements: Ellis, Hobbs-Awoyemi, McNally, Narraway, McKibbin, Atkins, Ransom.

Jersey: Cuthbert; Watkins, Davies, Ma'afu, Scott; Sheedy, Hardy; Woolmore, Buckle, Kerrod, Phillips, McKern, Freeman (capt), Graham, Haining.

Replacements: Selway, McCarthy, Armstrong, Kolo'ofa'i, Argyle, Dudley, Eastwell.

Attendance: 1,394

For the latest rugby union news follow @bbcrugbyunion on Twitter.

Top Stories