Ulster A lost 26 – 21 to Jersey Reds on Saturday afternoon in their final British and Irish Cup pool match. The losing bonus, coupled with an earlier defeat for Nottingham Rugby means that our boys still progress to the knockout stages as one if the three best runners-up.  

Ulster Rugby has so little regard for any team outside of the senior team that I had to listen to this game on Jersey Radio. After a brief panic, until I learned that the game was going to be delayed by 30 minutes due to frost on the pitch, the commentary proceeded fairly seamlessly – even if it was interspersed with updates from Guernsey’s unfortunate 1 – 2 loss to the mighty Whyteleafe in the Ryman Isthmian League (Division South) match. 

Despite the half-hour delay in the kick-off Ulster were still slow to get out of the blocks and before you could say “Shane Logan Out” they were down by five points after an early Jersey try. 

Mark Best responded for Ulster and Johnny McPhillips pushed our boys in front with the conversion to give Ulster a 5 – 7 lead after ten minutes. 

The Jersey pack appeared to be getting on top but the Ulster defence held out until the hosts crossed for their second in the 34th minute. Again the conversion was missed leaving the score at 10 – 7. 

Things got worse for Ulster A as they were issued with a yellow card but, despite being down to fourteen players, they went into the break in the lead thanks to a solo effort from Jacob Stockdale. McPhillips converted to give Ulster a 10 – 14 lead at half time. 

Conor Joyce’s try three minutes after the restart, again converted by McPhillips, pushed Ulster into a commanding 10 – 21 lead, and it looked for much of the third quarter that they were going to break clear. 

However, Jersey weathered the storm and came back with two quick, unconverted tries, the first from Ulster exile Ross Adair, to take the score to 20 – 21. 

The final quarter belonged to Jersey but, as the tension rose, they only managed two penalties for all their dominance. 

Final score: Jersey Reds 26 Ulster A 21. 

Ulster A: Jack Owens, David Busby, Rory Butler, Mark Best, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny McPhillips, Jonny Stewart, Eric O’Sullivan, Zack McCall, Peter Cooper, Alan O’Connor, John Donnan, Stephen Mulholland, Conor Joyce, Lorcan Dow. Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Chris Cundell, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Johnny Creighton, Andrew Magrath, Callum Patterson.

Scorers.
TRY: Mark Best, Jacob Stockdale, Conor Joyce. CON: Johnny McPhillips (3)

The qualifying teams from the pool stages of the British and Irish Cup are as follows. 

eed Pool Winners Pts Wins Pts diff
1 London Irish 25 5 57
2 Jersey Reds 23 5 87
3 Ealing Trailfinders 23 4 71
4 Scarlets Premiership Select 21 4 49
5 Munster A 19 4 66
Seed Pool Runners–up Pts Wins Pts diff
6 Cornish Pirates 20 4 89
7 Ulster A 20 4 29
8 Yorkshire Carnegie 20 4 26

 

There is some confusion as to whether Munster’s tally is going to be prorated due to London Welsh going into receivership. If this is that case Munster would finish as top seeds with 28.5 points. The draw for the quarter-finals of the British and Irish Cup will be made tomorrow but with Jersey/Ulster, London Irish/Cornish Pirates and EalingTrailfinders/Yorkshire Carnegie all to be kept apart from each other it’s most probable that Ulster will be facing a trip to London Irish! 

#SUFTUM