Coventry v Hartpury College – choose your fantasy 2016 Cov team…
The team to play Hartpury College at home on Saturday has already been selected.
Supporters don’t get to find out the make-up of the match day squad until John Wilkinson makes it public on the website, usually on a Thursday morning. For anyone who isn’t a regular reader of the blog, then it might be of interest:
The times they are a-changing… (25/08/16)
The team for the following Saturday is selected on a Tuesday – which I don’t think was the case last year. On a Wednesday, the names of the 15 players selected will go above the appropriate pegs in the dressing room and those players, and only those players, will be allowed to change in the Home changing rooms for Thursday’s training – everyone else, including reserves, have to change in the Away changing room.
Hartpury are clearly the form team in National 1 and are likely to be the toughest challenge Coventry will face at home this season. It would be fair to suppose, therefore, that Coventry will want to put out its strongest side on the day in order to give the club the best chance of surprising what will clearly be a confident Hartpury, having won all 4 games so far this season, as well as securing the bonus point in each one.
And in all honestly, loyal as I am and always will be to Cov, Hartpury must start out as clear favourites given the way we underperformed last week against Blackheath, a team Hartpury ‘nilled’ in the opening game of the season, and in the light of our inability so far this season to play to our potential for a full 80 minutes.
It’s almost impossible to second guess team selection at the moment, so I’m not even going to attempt to try. Many of the backs have already been played in two or more different positions, with Rowland Winter understandable experimenting early on in the season to find the best permutations depending on opposition and conditions. Whilst it probably frustrates some supporters, I’ve actually enjoyed seeing players play out of position (or at least away from the position we usually associate them with) and, more often that not, RW’s changes to the team have consistently worked, with last week the obvious exception.
That’s why I think patience is required; just 4 games in is no time at all in the scheme of things to assess how individual players perform in particular situations, although from what RW said on the coach after the game, he learned some valuable lessons last Saturday.
With some players still injured and/or unavailable, and some seeming to have picked up knocks down in Blackheath, we won’t have a full list of those available for selection until Thursday, anyway.
So I thought it might be interesting to ask readers to select their starting XV to play Hartpury, selecting from a full squad, other than Cliffie Hodgson and Pete White who are long term absentees through injury.
We’ve played 11 games in all this season, including the triple header on the final Saturday of pre-season, and with 8 of the games played at home, many of us will have had the chance to see all the squad in action and will have formed our own ideas about the relative strengths of each player.
Ensuring that readers can choose from a near enough full squad makes it purely an academic exercise and no comparison can be drawn to the team announced on Thursday – it is purely a bit of fun and hopefully it will raise a bit of additional interest prior to the official announcement of Saturday’s squad tomorrow.
There’s always those who scoff at this sort of activity, who feel that as supporters we shouldn’t pre-judge decisions made by the coaches. However, get two or more Cov supporters in a bar with a pint or two midweek and it won’t be two long before talk turns to selection and who they would pick for the next game.
This is simply the e-version – Championship Rugby Manager 2016/17, were it to exist…
Fantasy rugby – Cov style.
Make yourself a cup of coffee, grab a hobnob or two and sit down for 5 minutes for a period of reflection, rejection and selection…
So, this is how it works…I’ve broken the squad into the various on-field positions as indicated on Rowland Winter’s original squad list that he showed to supporters in one of the pre-season meetings. All you need to do is vote according to the instructions above each box.
It makes sense when you start filling it in.
Given voting is only open for 24 hours please do vote today. You can’t have multiple entries (the software prevents that…), and you can only vote once.
On Friday, I’ll publish the team that readers of the blog would chose to face Hartpury from an almost fully fit squad, selecting the bench from the most popular runners up made up of 1 hooker, 1 prop, 1 back row, 1 scrum half and 1 utility back.
Please don’t take this too seriously, it just gives you a chance to compare your team with the most popular choices of those voting on the day. I’m sure everyone has there own opinions, so it will be interesting to see that the consensus would be.
I chanced to be in front of the television early this evening, listening to Midlands Today…usually I don’t pay a great deal of attention when it’s on…but Sue quickly woke me from my reverie to alert me to an item about Coventry and in particular the reason why the city adopted the elephant on it’s Coat of Arms (see left).
I’m not Coventrian by birth, purely by adoption only, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I ‘ve never known why this was the case, especially as it’s such a feature of the Coventry Rugby Club badge
And the reason, apparently, dates back to the 1300s when the city adopted it, together with the castle on its back, as a sign of strength and fortitude and as a protector against dragons (and fair play, it did work when we played Newport last month).
If you’ve been following Cov on Twitter this season, you’ll know that one player each week
is given Nelly, a small blue elephant to look after prior to each game, and something that seems to have almost been adopted by the players as a mascot.
I’ve no idea whose turn it is to look after her this week, but I hope whoever it is ensures she is fed and watered well and given a couple of extra handfuls of peanuts in readiness for Saturday. If Coventry are to prevent Hartpury from breaching the walls of fortress (or perhaps castle) Cov, then Nelly might well be needed.
A quick bit of research on the Internet shows that:
There is a now forgotten tradition of dragon-slaying in this neighbourhood – and Coventry to be the birthplace of St. George, who slew the dragon. In the early seals of Coventry, from which the arms are derived, are shown, on one side, the combat between another dragon-slayer, the Archangel Michael, and the dragon. On the other is the elephant and castle. The shield is coloured red and green, the traditional colours of the city dating back at least to 1441
Two things there, one I’m so pleased Cov adopted as its colours blue and white in preference to red and green and, secondly, St George…born in Coventry…really?