Scott Morgan’s comments in yesterday’s Coventry Evening Telegraph following the London Welsh game (Coventry Evening Telegraph) suggest he was very pleased with much of Coventry’s performance on Saturday, citing the only real difference between the two team as being the better organisation of the Welsh and Coventry’s lack of focus and concentration which he feels is so important when playing full-time teams.
Such lapses will occur at any level; the important thing is to ensure that there are senior players on the pitch who can lead by example and a captain who can call the shots. The likes of Jones, Hamilton, Poole, Price and Hope should have the nous to be able to do that and Evans is as experienced as they come and the decision to give the captaincy to him would suggest that the coaching staff feel he is a player to whom the rest of the team will listen on and off the field. One of the key areas where Coventry will benefit most from this season is their ability to retain the bulk of their squads over the last couple of years. This continuity means that the whole squad has a better ‘corps d’esprit’, and more loyalty to each other and to the club…
When times get tough, as they will, the team will play for each other and not just as individuals. Too many clubs these days opt for signing ‘journeymen’ – seasoned ‘professionals’. Big names who have played at a higher level and are looking for a decent pay-day but who have no loyalty to the club and who have a tendency to walk away when the pressure is on. In the past, this has happened with Coventry but there seems a better spirit within the squad these days. What no one wants to see on Saturday is another 25 minute passage of play where Coventry are conceding points without really showing any ability to counter the opposition’s game plan. We made some basic errors against the Welsh and when we did get possession, too often we seemed to string a few phases together only to get penalised and give the ball back to them, often well inside our own half. One of the problems was that the replacements had been, or were about to be, made, and some the key players you would hope to take the lead were no longer on the pitch, so perhaps in a ‘real’ game we might not see Cov turned over in this way. That said, we were able to ride the storm eventually and in the last 10 or so minutes looked more comfortable and finished with a fine try. With Coventry seemingly able to match Welsh for fitness and physical presence, it is easy to see why Morgan is so encouraged, but another strong performance against Ealing is needed to ensure that Cov go into the Wharfedale game knowing that they can compete against any team in National One. A poor performance on Saturday would undo a lot of the excellent work we have witnessed thus far.
Scott Morgan also alluded to his concern about the lineout, but that should be addressed during the Tuesday and Thursday training sessions this week. Doubtless he will be anxious to ensure such problems don’t reappear this Saturday against Ealing. With both Price and Hope having difficulty hitting their target, it would seem the problem is with the jumpers as much as the throwers. Whether it be the timing of the jump/throw or just the wrong calls being made, it should be something that can be ironed out on the practice ground.
It is really hard as a supporter not to get carried away by what we have seen and by the general optimism flowing through the club at the moment. To have 970+ supporters at the Welsh game, with an increased entrance fee of £10 (from the usual £5) shows that there is great interest in what is happening at the BPA, despite the presence of a Premiership club across the other side of the city. How many of those attending Wasps games would come back to Coventry were we to have a successful season…certainly far more than we have lost to them since their move here, surely? Indeed, have we lost any…?
Cov need to keep the momentum going; a good performance should mean somewhere near 1700 through the turnstiles on the following Saturday for the Wharfedale game, which I wouldn’t mind betting is 200 up on the first game last season against Rosslyn Park. A few wins, and attendances could well average over 2000…leaving the accountants rubbing their hands with anticipation. The rugby fans in Coventry want Coventry RFC to succeed, no matter who else is in town.