‘Lost in transition’ might sound like a sequel to a Hollywood movie starring Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson, but in actual fact it probably better describes where Coventry are at the moment, half way through the season and struggling to find any decent form.
After the Esher game, Scott Morgan and the coaches seemed to change team selection somewhat to incorporate more of last year’s successful squad, with just three of the team chosen to play Blaydon coming from this season’s recruitment drive. Indeed, one of those was enforced owing to the long term injury of Dan Rundle although in fairness to Peter Weightman, he’d be in my starting XV with a full squad to select from anyway. I thought this was going to be the transitional phase.
For 3 games this looked like the wining formula, albeit against teams below us in the league. Many of us welcomed the consistency in selection, with Scott able to pick unchanged teams for several weeks running. We began to feel a corner might have been turned.
However, following defeats against Darlington, Blackheath and Ampthill, it now seems as if we’re almost back to the pre-Esher scenario where the coaches still don’t know their best team, or so it might seem to the casual outsider. Hence, the ‘lost in transition’ reference.
However, Scott Morgan’s comment in his most recent Coventry Telegraph interview that:
I think we are very fortunate that a lot of the boys we would want to stay on still believe in us and want to put things right
possibly suggests otherwise, although he gives no indication of the numbers of players he would want to stay on.
Are there enough within this group to produce a team capable of achieving:
something good over the rest of the season.
And indeed, will they want to remain with Coventry given the troubled season they have endured so far?
Are the players that Scott has in mind going to be able to gain points from the difficult run of games Coventry faces following the Loughborough game on the 2nd January with Hartpury (A), Richmond (H), Plymouth (A), Hull (H), Fylde (A) and Esher (H) to follow? Only Blackheath is missing from the top 6 and if the team don’t manage at least a couple of wins , then Coventry could be staring down a barrel by the time they travel up to Blaydon on the 5th March.
Much, then, depends two key factors, a) the coaches selecting the right teams and b) those teams playing to their potential.
National 1 clubs have done their homework on us so far this season and thanks to Camera Shake’s excellent post on the messageboard, I now understand how clubs are able to do this with such ease.
It becomes imperative that problems in the line-outs and in defence against the catch and drive have to be minimised if we are to show improvements over the second half of the season. Discipline on the pitch, too, also has to be far better to ensure we are playing with 15 men on the pitch at all times rather than 14, or even 13, as was the case in many games before Christmas. If they aren’t corrected, teams will continue to play to our weaknesses and results will remain sadly all too predictable.
However, I’m sure Scott and the coaches will have been busy over the Christmas period formulating plans to ensure that Coventry compete far better with the top teams over the remainder of the season.
The home game on 2nd January will be the first indication of what, if any, changes Scott will be making both to the team and to the style of play. In light of the three consecutive defeats prior to the Christmas break, something has to change, even if it’s just down to self-belief and confidence in the players’ own abilities. Players need to start the second half of the season as if it were the start of a season and look to be in the top 3-4 over the final 15 games.
If they can do this, then not only will any concerns about relegation be quickly removed, but also the club can go into the close season in a much happier frame of mind, retaining the core of a squad that Scott Morgan can build on to make a concerted push for promotion next season…
…now here have I heard that before?
Day 5 of the ‘Coventry’s Most Valuable Player’ poll results and this time it’s the 8th place that’s published.
And you voted for:
Congratulations to Devlin.
Those of you who have read this blog from its inception will understand how pleased I am about Devlin’s appearance in the poll and at such a relatively high position. Given he has only made 3, yes just 3, starts this season, 8th place is a pretty impressive result and is indicative of the respect he holds amongst many supporters.
He clearly loves playing over here and his comments on social media always exude passion and desire for the club he has travelled several thousand miles to play for (as Courtney Roberts has, another big favourite with me).
On the pitch he has made a very favourable impression, particularly with ball in hand, scoring five tries with what must be the best ‘tries to minutes on pitch ratio’ of anyone in the club. In defence, he has put in some pretty impressive shifts too and he seems to be a real team player.
Unfortunately, for Devlin, he has had to play second fiddle to Matt Price for much of the first half of the season. Matt has had a strong season and Devlin has struggled to get the game time that he probably deserves and certainly needs. Whilst wishing Matt no ill whatsoever, I do hope we see a little more of Devlin in the second half of the season.
Coventry are extremely lucky to have two hookers of the quality of Matt Price and Devlin Hope.
Tomorrow will see 8th place in the MVP poll announced.