Yorkshire Carnegie 16 Jersey 12: Redpath’s rebuild to take time despite victory

Christian Georgiou races away to score the only points of the second half, a 65th-minute try that earned Yorkshire Carnegie victory over Jersey. Picture: Steve Riding
Christian Georgiou races away to score the only points of the second half, a 65th-minute try that earned Yorkshire Carnegie victory over Jersey. Picture: Steve Riding
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No matter how much experience or respect he has gained, Bryan Redpath was never going to be able to wave a magic wand and instantly cure all the ills at Yorkshire Carnegie.

The job of head coach that the former Sale and Gloucester chief has taken on is very much of a rebuilding nature, with the groundwork being laid in the final five games of what has been a calamitous season for the club.

That they were still within reach of a place in the top four and the promotion play-offs gave Redpath a nice soundbite when he arrived that a glory run that defied all that had gone before was still within their power.

Two wins and nine points further down the road, and the status quo remains, with Carnegie six points behind fourth-placed Nottingham and with no margin for error. Yet privately, developing a pattern and rebuilding confidence through winning a few games is the aim of these five matches for Redpath. If that takes this side into the play-offs, then that is a massive bonus.

But this hard-fought win over Jersey was a prime example of how much of a work in progress Carnegie remain.

Their discipline troubled Redpath, with lingering anger at refereeing decisions something he wants to eradicate from his players’ mindset.

“If we talk about referees then we are hiding from our own responsibilities,” summised Redpath, who also felt his team could have been more clincial.

Their lack of application during the week also concerned him.

“We didn’t perform well in training this week, which is something I have to look at,” said the Scottish taskmaster, who clearly is analysing all facets of the club’s approach as they look to mount a more sustained assault on promotion to the Premiership next season.

There have been encouraging aspects for the 43-year-old, namely their resilience yesterday in withstanding an enterprising and physical Jersey outfit.

“The character we showed in the second half impressed me. Our resilience is good,” he said.

Carnegie trailed at half-time by just a single point, thanks largely to a defensive stand when down to 14 men which Redpath hailed as “massive”.

Two Harry Leonard penalties were not enough to keep ambitious Jersey from taking the lead when a flowing move from left to right resulted in centre Drew Locke scurrying over untouched; Aaron Penberthy converting.

Carnegie’s response was a well-crafted try; Leonard’s booming crossfield kick measured masterfully in the wind by winger Goss who barely broke stride to collect the ball, juggle it in his hands and dive over.

Centre Pete Lucock was then stopped in his tracks by a scything tackle that moments later prompted a 30-man brawl.

Nick Haining hit back for Jersey, scoring far too easily in the corner after Samisona Fisilau’s raking pass; another incident that resulted in chests being shoved by the respective players.

But it was symptomatic of the rising tide as Carnegie toiled against the wind in the first half, with Leonard sent to the sin-bin for stopping Fisilau scoring a certain try after Jersey centre Mark MacRea had broken into the Yorkshire 22.

Only a well-timed tackle by Lucock denied Locke a second try as Carnegie headed to the locker room thankful to be trailing only by a point, after Penberthy missed a conversion and a penalty. Initially, Carnegie were unable to make Jersey pay, their rhythm upset by the referee’s whistle.

Redpath’s men needed a flash of inspiration, and they got it, with a try fashioned from their own 22. Charlie Beech, the prop, showed speed belying his position and a great offload released the jet-heeled Taylor Prell down the touchline, before he released Georgiou to race home.

Carnegie then withstood a series of set-pieces – there were 33 lineouts and 17 scrums in all – to close out a hard-fought victory.

Yorkshire Carnegie: Georgiou, Goss, Lucock (Bainbridge 80), Fitzpatrick (Clarke 70), Prell, Leonard (Grimoldby 70), Pilgrim (Egerton 55); Beech, Nilsen (J Walker 55), Tideswell (Hill 49), Smith, Jones, Williams (Harris 55), C Walker, Burrows.

Jersey: Penberthy, Foster, Locke, McRea, Otto (Bentley 80), Robling, Fisilau (Glynn 80); Lockwood (Lancuba 74), Buckle, Williams (Herriott 66), Phillips (Campbell 48), Markham, Rae, Hodson (Noone 40), Haining (Garcia-Vega 67).

Referee: A Jackson (RFU).