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Ulster ‘A’ Through To Last-Eight Despite Jersey Defeat
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Ulster ‘A’ Through To Last-Eight Despite Jersey Defeat

Ulster ‘A’ Through To Last-Eight Despite Jersey Defeat

Despite losing 26-21 away to Jersey Reds in their final pool match, Ulster ‘A’ will still progress to the knockout stages of the British & Irish Cup.

With Saturday's game delayed by 30 minutes to allow areas of the St. Peter pitch to thaw out, it was Jersey Reds who made the brighter start when towering lock Uili Kolo'ofa'I picked up from the back of a lineout and stormed in to touch down in the left corner.

Ulster 'A' responded well with some good possession before a sweeping move from right to left, plus delightful hands from Johnny McPhillips, sent centre Mark Best over in the corner. Young out-half McPhillips expertly added the touchline conversion to put the visitors in front.

On 32 minutes Jersey gave a glimpse of what was to come when a penalty took them deep into Ulster 'A' territory, then they secured a lineout before forcing a maul over for flanker James Doyle to touch down.

With the half-time whistle approaching, Ulster 'A' winger Jacob Stockdale scored the try of the game, picking the ball up well inside his own half before showing a clean pair of heels to the Jersey rearguard to dot down under the posts. McPhillips slotted the easy conversion to put the province 14-10 ahead at the break.

Just three minutes after the restart, the Ulstermen added their third try. McPhillips took his side down into the corner where lineout ball was taken on by flanker Conor Joyce who managed to crash over from close range. McPhillips added the extra two points once again.

However, Jersey got in for their third try in the 53rd minute when some battering work by their forwards made space on left wing for former Ulster back Ross Adair to dot down, narrowing the scoreline to 21-15.

Nine minutes later Jersey secured their bonus point try when Doyle benefited from another maul to get his second score of the afternoon. Into the final quarter it was Jersey who dictated proceedings.

The English Championship club forced a number of penalties from Ulster 'A', in particular at scum and lineout time. Replacement out-half Sam Katz secured the victory for the home side, confidently slotting penalty goals in the 69th and 73rd minutes. The result saw Jersey leapfrog Ulster 'A' and top Pool 1 after the completion of the final round.

However, with four wins from the six pool matches, plus four bonus points along the way, Ulster 'A' still booked a place in the quarter-finals as one of the competition's best runners-up.

The draw for the British & Irish Cup quarter-finals will take place on Monday, with the Kieran Campbell and Willie Anderson-coached province facing an away trip to one of the top four-seeded teams.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Jack Cuthbert; George Watkins, Jordan Davies, Kuki Ma'afu, Ross Adair; Callum Sheedy, Kieran Hardy; Sean McCarthy, Jack Macfarlane, Simon Kerrod, Uili Kolo'ofa'I, Pierce Phillips (capt), James Freeman, James Doyle, Nick Haining.

Replacements: Joe Buckle, Jake Woolmore, Jake Armstrong, Dave McKern, Max Argyle, Joel Dudley, Sam Katz.

Away Team

Jack Owens; David Busby, Rory Butler, Mark Best, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny McPhillips, Jonny Stewart; Eric O'Sullivan, Zack McCall, Peter Cooper, Alan O'Connor (capt), John Donnan, Stephen Mulholland, Conor Joyce, Lorcan Dow.

Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Chris Cundell, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Johnny Creighton, Andrew Magrath, Callum Patterson.

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Uili Kolo'ofa'I, James Doyle 2, Ross Adair; Pens: Sam Katz 2

Away Team

Tries: Mark Best, Jacob Stockdale, Conor Joyce; Cons: Johnny McPhillips 3