We want players who are willing to run hard, wear the jersey with pride and put their bodies on the line.
Scott Morgan’s final comment in yesterdays article in the CoventryTelegraph is one that I imagine would be echoed by every Cov supporter. The discussions over game plans, tactics, selection and recruitment are all secondary to this basic principle.
It’s what the Head Coach wants, it’s what the supporters want and there’s never going to be any disagreement over it.
If this is the basic premise explained to players by Scott before signing on the dotted line for Cov then, no matter what the result, the vast majority of supporters will leave the ground at 4.50 on a Saturday afternoon content that they have seen the team give their all.
It doesn’t hurt to see it in black and white occasionally, just to remind ourselves that this is the bottom line.
The only slight problem with it is that as soon as a coach or manager says it, whatever the sport, there’s a suggestion that the willingness to run and the pride in the jersey aren’t always there. In the games we’ve lost and lost badly, or lost through our own mistakes and lack of discipline, have the players ever shown an unwillingness to run or a lack of pride in the shirt?
My answer to that question would be a resounding ‘no’, although I’m not so sure everyone would feel the same.
I can’t believe that anyone would go into a game and not give everything. It’s a view that’s an anathema to me. Some days things might not work out, but it’s not for the want of trying. I can vividly recall the look on Matt Price’s face immediately after the whistle had blown at the end of the Esher game…
I just happened to have my camera out at the time (I usually only take pictures before kick off as I like to make a swift exit once the game is over ). If ever the pain of defeat and shock at the manner of the defeat was etched on a player’s face, it was then.
But I think I understand what Scott means here, with the comment coming as it did immediately after what was probably the best performance, if not the best result, of the season so far. We had just witnessed some heroics out on the pitch, with every player ‘tackling themselves to a standstill’ as John W so appropriately described it.
Up against the odds, with a Richmond side finishing the stronger and pressing in the final 10 minutes for the winning score, this was one of the most memorable passages of rugby seen at the Butts in many a year. We’ve seen many periods of play when Coventry have been the dominant force and scored two or three quick tries, but rarely have we witnessed such a rear-guard action. There were some desperately tired bodies especially the likes of Courtney Roberts, Joe Foreman and George Worth.
But I think he was making the point that he’d got the team playing with the intensity that he expects in every game. I think you can wear a jersey with pride and show commitment to the cause without necessarily playing at the intensity we saw on Saturday. And if this is what Scott is trying to instil, then I think he’s pretty close to turning things round.
Missing some of the big names who are out through injury, the likes of Matt Jones, Rob Knox, Dan Rundle, Andy Brown and George Oliver to name but 5, it becomes far more important that Cov give a whole team performance, where everyone involved plays their part, rather than perhaps relying subconsciously on the ‘stars’ to perform. On Saturday, with so many key players absent, everyone had to pull their weight and in some respects, Coventry were a better team for it.
Continue playing with that intensity and we’ll surprise a few more of the top teams this season, and when the injured players return, if they can get their places back, then they will come back to a side full of confidence because not only have they performed without Cov’s own version of the Galácticos, they’ve been successful too.
Scott and his coaches did a fantastic job preparing the players for the Richmond game…let’s hope they can do the same for the tough trip to Plymouth in three days time.
I am still confused, though, by some of Scott’s comments about how he wants his team to play.
Last week before the Richmond game it was all about pressurising the opposition into making errors:
Rugby is all about pressure – putting opponents under pressure and keeping them under pressure until they make a mistake. I don’t think we do that. We try to score our points from creating things ourselves instead of squeezing them into making mistakes which we can capitalise on – there’s a big difference.
This week, following the Richmond game, it’s now a question of
…showing what we can do. We know that when we have got some confidence we are a good team, so let’s go out and express ourselves – that will be the message for the rest of the year, we are where we are in the league, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so let’s go and play. I think we are dangerous when we do that
I guess I’m missing the point somewhere along the line, but the two comments seem to me to be pretty much the opposite of each other…last week was about less creativity and more pressure, this week it’s a case of go and enjoy yourselves, you’ve got nothing to lose, be as creative as you like.
Perhaps having seen what a quality player he has in Gaston Mieres, Scott feels that to get the best out of him, the ball needs to get out to the backs more and he should be given the opportunity to be the creative spark that has been missing in so many of the games this season.
It does seem to be another shift in tactics, but one that most of the Coventry faithful would be in favour of.
Mieres, Knox, Lespierre (or Weightman) and Rundle are a pretty exciting proposition in the weeks and months to come, especially on drier, harder pitches and will be a handful for any team once they have played together for a few games, especially with Cliffie or Matt leading the line and a confident Callum MacBurnie or James Tincknell partnering Rob in the centre.
As Scott says:
We all want to see these boys with ball in hand, to see how good our strike runners are, carrying in the right channels, passing and playing with some width and enterprise.
If Scott is going to encourage them to express themselves more, well I can’t help but think we’ll have far more success on the pitch and off it too, as attendances would inevitably increase as they see the expansive nature of Coventry’s rugby. Of course, it’s also about the basics, the set pieces and the lineouts remain effective and the defence resolute. I guess it’s about ensuring the players know when to switch between the two.
We’ll probably better understand how Coventry will be approaching the remainder of the season after their visit to Plymouth…certainly it’s another very important game and despite being mid-table, Coventry have so much to play for at the moment.
Not the least of which are one or two contract extensions….
If there’s something strange in you neighbourhood,
Who you gonna call? Kevin Carlyon
If there’s something weird and it don’t look good,
Who you gonna call? Kev the Witch!
With yet more injuries suffered during the Richmond game, Coventry have once again been catapulted headlong in to an injury crisis that briefly seemed to be on the mend. Poole , Tresidder and Le Roux are the latest victims of a Coventry jinx that seems to have lasted all season.
Bad luck or something rather more sinister?
Just coincidence or is there an evil force at work the Butts, a spell cast upon the club by a disgruntled supporter (there are a few names there that spring to mind) or is it the work of another club, perhaps local to the area and keen to see us brought to ruin both on and off the field…
You think I’m joking? I kid you not…
It was less than four months ago that Burnley Football Club called in the help of one Kevin Carlyon, self-styled ‘high priest of the White Witches’ to bring to an end a similar problem. Kev the Witch, as he’s called amongst those in the know, used his powers to cast an incantation to try and halt the terrible run of cruciate ligament injuries the club had endured over a period of 18 months.
And his success was startling.
He performed his incantation on Wednesday 2nd September of last year and by the Friday of that week the club had had no further knee traumas amongst its players.
If proof were need that such spells could be broken, then this is surely it.
It might seem mumbo jumbo to some, but to a club suffering what seems like an unprecedented run of serious injuries, then Kev the Witch might just be the answer to their prayers.
For those of you somewhat sceptical of such a story, then I would direct you to the following article in The Daily Telegraph:
I have included the transcript of the incantation used by Kevin as part of the ritual below.
Perhaps if a few of us were to meet before training on Thursday, bare our chests to the mainstand and recite it on mass, replacing Burnley FC with Coventry FC.
If it is indeed some evil hoodoo, then we might ourselves be able to put to an end to a curse that is causing so much damage to the club.
Anyone up for it…?
To this circle I now add my spirit, and now as all these elements are combined, I purify and energise a circle of power. So may it be done.
I now ask the element of nature to reach out and allow me to perform this spell to both protect and reach out to the ground, now used by Burnley FC. And as I reach out, I protect the club from any evil intent.
I now reach out to Burnley FC to both protect and increase the luck of all players. Whoever has placed these malicious and demonic energies – may the elements of nature rebound this to the place it came from.
On this day, I ask that luck and health comes to all that use the football ground, including members of staff, the players, and fans attending matches.
May it be that by Halloween, those repetitive knee injuries are stopped, and may the energies that I invoke start a run of increased luck for Burnley.
May it be that a psychic wall be placed across the goalmouth of Burnley FC each time they play, and a winning streak be played upon the club so that it’s fortunes return
Should anyone want to contact the club about the possibility of employing Kev the Witch’s undoubted talents instead of the supporters doing it on the cheap then further details of how to contact him can be found at:
Footnote – a word of warning though… the Daily Telegraph did invite readers to comment on the story, leading one reader to write the following note of caution:
High priest of British White Witches”? What? says the egotistical idiot. I think you will find that the rest of the British White Witches will disagree on that point.
Aside form (sic) that, there is NO curse from Pendle Hill…
Kevin Carlyon is a bane on Modern Day witchraft (sic) poking his nose into things that frankly he should keep out of.. Stick to sitting by the fire in your bright red bathrobe Kevin. You are a self publicist and a joke.
I wish he would keep his nose out of peoples business and he can go back to his hovel in the south and keep away from Pendle.
Perhaps additional references might be needed before proceeding any further…?