Coventry RFC to audition for the Christmas pantomime…?
Speaking immediately after the match to John Wilkinson for The Rugby Post, Scott Morgan said he thought the performance against Fylde was ‘possibly the worst experience in my time at the club’.
It certainly was for many of the 1187 supporters there yesterday.
I can’t remember any game for many a year that came even close to the frustrations I felt watching a Coventry side bereft of ideas, lacking in pace, unable to exert any control on the game and where there seemed little individual or collective skill on show at all. There were two very short periods of play in the second half when Coventry managed a couple of tries and looked like they might get their tails up, but Fylde were to score quickly to stifle any thoughts of a recovery. That apart, it really was a dire performance from a team that looked shell-shocked at the end and there was palpable relief when the referee blew the final whistle. It felt like I’d watch my favourite pet being put to sleep by an unsympathetic vet
It was a professional display by a Fylde team that had done their homework on us. We were well-beaten in every department.
I’ve never been one to single out players for criticism, especially in a game where few did themselves much credit.
But in this instance, I do think Wayne Evans needs to reflect on his contribution to the game. Admittedly, in the first half he had to sit on the bench and endure Coventry’s inability to cope with the strength of Fylde’s forwards, especially at the breakdown, and the pace of their backs who had made inroads into the Coventry defences time and time again. He must have been as frustrated as anyone in the ground. At half time he game on and in the space of 40 minutes, forty minutes mind you, the Coventry captain managed to receive two yellow cards; in effect a red card and presumably an automatic suspension.
And what were the offences he received them for? Not technical ones, that’s for sure. Holding back a Fylde player as he took a quick tap in their 22 and allegedly slapping an opponent just before the final whistle blew. This is the club captain, the man entrusted by the coaching staff to lead by example, to use his vast experience at the highest level to bring on some of the more junior Coventry players and to be a calming influence when Cov are finding the going tough on the pitch. Not sure he did much of that yesterday. If it doesn’t sound too clever, it wasn’t.
The most disappointing thing for me was that Coventry knew what to expect. Fylde were always going to play at speed, off-load at pace and use the width of the pitch to good effect and yet we were unable to deal with it to any great degree. First tackles were missed with worrying regularity, when we did have the ball, we contrived to either kick it away and allow the Fylde backs the space to run it back at us. When we did go through four of more phases, we invariably got ourselves into a decent position and then lost the ball on contact or in the loose. We also continued to concede far too many penalties, too many of which of seemed to be for not rolling away.
Scott Morgan also suggested in the same article that:
….we have a clear gameplan which we have simplified to had some intensity, but it just wasn’t there and we have to ask our key decision-makers why.
He’s right. It wasn’t evident. The contrast between the way Fylde made quick effective decisions as to how best to use the ball and Coventry’s rather ponderous and one-dimensional play was really noticeable. It was, as he also says, ‘unacceptable’. He might have a problem asking the key-decision makers what exactly did go wrong as it wasn’t evident from the stand who they were, such was the paucity of ideas coming from Cov.
It hurts to see a Coventry side that seemed to lack commitment and failed to play as a team for the vast majority of the game. There were some players who were able to make a difference. Dom was ferocious in defence and what he did, he did with his usual passion and commitment. He didn’t get much ball but he tackled everything that came his way, putting in one fantastic try-saving tackle in particular, having chased back a good 30m or so first. Jacques le Roux didn’t start off too well, his break from the base of the scrum in our own 22 led directly to Fylde’s second try, but he did make some telling breaks, but he lacked support and still looks like he needs more game time. Thought he looked okay though. Ryan had a couple of telling breaks, but when Cov aren’t getting the ball to the backs, he’s working off scraps and tends to be most involved when returning the ball from if the opposition kick for position. Loti worked hard and showed his strength a couple of times. When Hope game on, he changed things a little and his rampaging run led and a return pass led to his try. He only lasted 33 minutes; I think he might have received a knock and had to come off. He seemed to showed the passion lacking in other areas.
I’m not sure what Daniel Carpo will have made of the game. If he had any doubts at all about joining a National 1 team they can’t have been anywhere near as bad as the reality proved.
The players were tested on the pitch yesterday and they fell well-short of expectations. During the week it is the coaches who must come under some scrutiny now. This is where they earn their corn. Since as far back as the second half of the Loughborough game, Coventry have been misfiring. Yesterday, they stuttered and broke down. The coaches have to patch up the engine and get it working well enough to compete with a Rosslyn Park team that defeated Ampthill yesterday and will be full of confidence, at least far more so than Coventry.
Yesterday has to be Coventry’s nadir, the lowest point of the season. No more talk of promotion, not until it’s back on and it’s a long way off that
at the moment. I’m not buying into for the pre-season optimism any more. I did because it’s in my nature to be optimistic. It’s taken 87 posts to get to this stage. Never let it be said that I’m impatient.
This is now about rebuilding a team that is low in confidence and under-performing to an alarming-degree. The coaches are going to have to make some tough decisions as far as team selection is concerned now. The messageboard is frustrated, if not angry, and supporters are rightly beginning to ask questions about a team that was said to be ready for an assault on the top spot in the league. With 7 games gone we find ourselves in 6th place, already 9 points adrift of Hartpury and with a team that has is now failing, for the mostpart, to deliver. Time for a reality check.
Prior to the game, Scott Morgan suggested that Coventry needed to be ‘smarter’ in the way they play.
Yesterday they were plain dopey.
Is Snow White coming to the Belgrade this Christmas….?