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All Blacks or Coventry RFC…no contest!

Scott Hamilton in full flow

Scott Hamilton in full flow

I’ve always wondered whether teams are stronger or weaker for having overseas players in them, as opposed to those having grown up within the local community. Would Cov be better, for instance, with only players born and bred in and around Coventry representing them? Surely their commitment would be all the greater for playing for their ‘local’ side? Well perhaps not…

Scott Hamilton has shown this is not necessarily the case and with one tweet has reassured me that his presence in the team and amongst the coaching staff can only be a positive thing. Remember, we are talking about the same Scott Hamilton who has represented New Zealand no less, the same Scott Hamilton who played for Canterbury and Crusaders, as well as donning the Leicester shirt on some 145 occasions. So in a tweet to Gonzalo Camacho, the Leicester wing whom Cov ‘signed’ in the second half of last season but who never actually appeared, on his return to the Argentina national side following injury, Scotty H, albeit tongue-in-cheek wrote: ‘Good luck….for his comeback game for Argentina…..It’s not @coventryrugby but it’s not bad.’ He could have so easily written that it wasn’t the same as playing, say, for the All Blacks or for Leicester, but I find his reference to Cov quite comforting and a sign that he is fitting in well to life as a Coventry player/coach. His loyalty, at least, is clear.

There’s been very little reaction to the new signings so far this summer. Prior to seeing them actually perform on the pitch, I always make the mistake of judging new recruits  to the club on the basis of where they have come from, rather than their potential to impact on the team. So, a player from the Championship is going to be better than someone from our league or below…this is because I usually know little of them as players (unless of course they’re called Sigley). I guess like a lot of supporters, I don’t have a great knowledge of the players in the leagues above us; I don’t have Sky or BT Sports so I don’t see much rugby beyond our league and the Autumn/Spring Internationals. So, unless we snap up players who have represented one of the Home Nations, I’m unlikely to know much about them.

I always tend to arrive early on a match day and the warm-ups to the first few games are usually spent trying to put names to faces; it takes until October to correctly identify the team/subs! Hopefully, the whole squad will be taking some part in the Broadstreet game on Saturday (I’m presuming it’s 3 or 4 20 minute sessions); a chance to begin to assess who might make the final 22 for the first league match on 5th September.

One player I am excited by is Devlin Hope, based mostly on Youtube clips (Devlin Hope highlights). Players have been signed to more successful teams than Coventry on the basis of a Youtube clip, so I don’t feel too shallow! Hope looks a real force of nature and is happiest with ball in hand, running at the opposition.  Matt Price will have some real competition for the No.2 spot this season, provided they both stay fit.

It would be good if the same is true for the other 14 positions on the park.

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