Perhaps it’s just me, but the game I watched on Saturday bears little resemblance to the one Scott Morgan alludes to in his post-match comments in today’s Coventry Evening Telegraph (CET – Rosslyn Park report).
The game I witnessed involved another disappointing performance in which Coventry, unable to make any sort of inroad into the Park defence inside their 22, resorted to kicking way any possession we had in our half, without the corresponding chase required to pressurise Park into making the handling errors that would give us back possession and provide the opportunity to attack their line.
And it was hardly a precision bombardment of the kind synonymous with modern era. Fylde would have laughed all the way back to the their dressing room. More a case of kick long and kick far. Preventative rather than attack-minded. If that was the game-plan, it was either poorly thought out or poorly executed. Either way, it didn’t work.
Added to that, the bench just wasn’t strong enough to cater for the inevitable injuries or the need to inject fresh impetus during the second half of the game. No specialist second row replacement was particularly bizarre given Scott Morgan’s lack of match fitness and the likelihood that he would have had to come off at some stage of the game. Two untried centres, both with very limited experience of playing at this level, and two front row specialists who were themselves substituted because the effectiveness of the pack was greatly diminished on their entry into the fray. No Poole, no Wright, no Thorne…no Hope.
It does raise a number of questions, questions that are rightly being asked on the Messageboard – albeit sometimes in the wrong way. And questions that deserve some answers. Not require some answers, just deserve some answers. They are two entirely different things.
Scott’s comment that:
The boys are trying so hard, there was real effort today which is what I asked for, they gave it everything and just came up short at the end.
This might be true in the sense that there was no shortage of effort. It’s not something that I’ve felt to be untrue of any Coventry side I’ve ever watched.
But remember – effort can be misplaced, but it’s still effort.
And it’s also true that they did just ‘come up short at the end’ – a converted try was the only difference. The reality was, though, Cov were a huge distance away from a performance expected of a team touted as one of the promotion favourites back in September.
Whether Scott Morgan’s comment that:
Even if you are up against it you ask the boys to front up and give it tons, and to be fair they did that today
is quite the case, well I’m not so sure. The jury’s certainly out on that one.
Scott seems to understand the supporters better than most coaches we’ve had in recent times, but I think on Saturday he spoke as a player, not as Head Coach. Had he spent the game at the top of the main stand where he normally sits, he would have recognised the growing frustration of another decent crowd watching another disappointing display from Coventry. An acknowledgement of that was also needed, as well as praise where appropriate.
In his defence, he might well have said something to that effect after the game but only had his comments relating to effort, not performance, quoted in the article. I guess he can’t win either way.
It must be a massive learning curve for Scott Morgan at the moment; player to coach to Head Coach in a relatively short space of time. I happen to think he’s done an outstanding job and is the right person to lead this club into the Championship. Has he got the right team around him to do that, though?
The problem Scott has is that a club like Coventry means different things to the supporters than it does to the players. To the supporters it offers a sense of belonging, of permanence: ‘Your city, Your club’. In adopting that as a motto, Coventry RFC might have acknowledged this to be the case but they have, as yet, to show they really believe it to be so. There won’t be a better opportunity to do so than the here and now.
However, to many players a club like Coventry offers a place to earn a living and to make, or lose, a reputation. There is always the realisation that you are only ever a few games short of a move away. By it’s very nature, to those involved in the playing of the game at this level, rugby is transient. And because there can’t be any permanence about it, the feelings a club arouses are always going to be different in a player than in a supporter. Players have passion too; they play for the shirt and for each other, always loyal to the club they represent. But they often move on. Supporters seldom do.
And that is why supporters…why we supporters…get so animated at times like this. It’s never about personalities really, although too often it’s worded in a way that makes it seem as if it is. No, it’s about our ‘love’ for our club. A club that ‘belongs’ to us as we ‘belong’ to it, even if the attachment is only an emotional one. We are, as the wise and wonderful Sister Sledge would say, ‘family’.
And if Coventry RFC is having a hard time, we do what any family does, we come together and fight for its well-being. It sometimes means people get vitriolic and rancorous, but if that happens you just need to take a step back and understand the passion behind it. Supporters can ‘give it tons’ too and just as we need to be more considered sometimes in what we say, so the club needs to be more considered in the way it communicates, or doesn’t as the case maybe, with its supporters.
Maybe I’m over simplifying things, but this is how it seems to me.
So, get up ev’rybody and sing
(HIGH!) high hopes we have for the future
And our goal’s in sight
(WE!) no we don’t get depressed
‘Cause here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won’t go wrong…
We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up ev’rybody and sing
We are family
‘We are family’ – Sister Sledge
Time to put on your boob tubes and sprinkle the glitter because here it is….