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Biljon fury as Jersey face Friday night Cup fiasco

Frustrated Jersey rugby director Harvey Biljon has blasted B&I Cup organisers for turning what should be his club’s biggest-ever day into an invisible sideshow.

The Islanders overcame favourites London Irish last week to set up a cup final showdown with Munster, but were dismayed to discover the showpiece event has been scheduled for Friday week in Cork – the night before Munster take on Saracens in Dublin.

Biljon reckons an opportunity to give the unloved B&I Cup some badly needed profile has been missed, telling The Rugby Paper: “I am very frustrated. Munster have hosted the final before so I don’t know how on earth they’ve worked this out.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into this competition but they’re sticking us in a graveyard slot in Cork on a Friday night ahead of Munster’s Champions Cup semi-final, which is crazy. I don’t even know if there’s going to be any TV coverage.

“You’d have thought they’d have wanted to make more of it because this would have been a huge occasion if we’d hosted it on Jersey. We played London Irish in front of over 3,500 in the league two weeks ago and we’d have got more for a final.

“It would have been a really special occasion.”

Biljon’s disappointment is understandable in light of the startling progress made at Jersey since the former Wasps scrum-half took charge in 2014.

From being relegation candidates, the Islanders have vied for this season’s Championship play-offs and six of their pack – James Freeman (Exeter), Nick Haining (Bristol), Gary Graham (Newcastle), Simon Kerrod (Worcester), Marc Thomas (Cardiff) and Pierce Phillips (Worcester) – will join top-flight clubs in June.

Biljon, who recently signed a new four-year contract, said: “That’s testament to the work we’re doing.

“Players are well coached, we develop them as people and if they improve, the team improves as well.

“I’m excited with the progress we’ve made over the last three years and the club has got clear direction around what we want on and off the field.”

Jersey are unable to mount a promotion bid for the Premiership, but Biljon hints that may change in future. He added: “Things are in the pipeline which may unfold over the next 18-24 months”

NEALE HARVEY

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