No vintage whine from Boris, previous Cov Head Coaches and a poll

Trivia question:

Q. How many Head Coaches/Directors of Rugby have Coventry RC had over the last 13 years and how many of them can you name?

A. Answers revealed further down the post…


It made a refreshing change to see a coach give a referee his full support following a game in which his team lost and a series of ‘controversial’ refereeing decisions ended up appearing to favour the opposition.

I say ‘controversial’ but as we later discovered and, as Boris Stankovich is at pains to point out, they were entirely the  correct decisions and he had no quibbles with the referee whatsoever.

Too often the referee becomes the focus of criticism, a way of deflecting it away from the team, but not so with Boris. He wasn’t having a bit of it.

I was happy with every decision made by the referee…I thought the referee and his two touch judges were outstanding with the decisions they made at scrum time, even the one where they penalised us in the first half. It was the right call.

The first time I read it, I actually thought there was an element of sarcasm there, so rare is it to hear such fulsome praise these days for the match officials.  And whilst I don’t for a minute believe Boris isn’t prone to the odd outburst about referees, for the most part it’s usually best left behind in changing room. Too often it comes across as sour grapes.

No vintage whine from Boris, though…1he’s above that.

In post-match interviews, both he and RW seem more concerned about the performance of the team rather than that of the referee. And that’s as it should be for the most part.

It’s clear from what he says in his interview with John Wilkinson that Stankovich, who came on as a replacement midway though the second half and was instrumental in Coventry winning the series of penalties that led to Harry’s two yellows, felt that Cov missed a golden opportunity to win the game.

The disappointing thing for me is that the game was there to be won, and its slipped out of our hands. We had our chances in the last ten minutes…but we’ve made a system error in defence with one of our players coming out and not looking at the half-back who’s taken the hole and it led to a try underneath the posts for them.

A game lost rather than a point earned, especially after conceding two early tries? Maybe, although I do feel it was more a case of Hartpury playing well and it slipping out of our hands because they were the stronger side in the period after we took the lead..

Not by a great deal, but on the day they had that much more in reserve.

But clearly confidence is still high and Saturday’s result should encourage whichever side is selected to play Esher next weekend to believe that they can go there and, providing they play to their strengths , they can come away with the win.

But there is  also a steely side to what Boris had to say as well…

After two straight defeats, another loss against Esher could ring alarm bells for some supporters expecting more of the team than just two wins, both against opposition that more than likely will be mid-table come the end of the season at best. And it’s hard to argue against that view, other than it’s still very early days as yet – 5 games into a two or three year project is nothing really. Come Christmas we should have a far better indication of how things are progressing…

We go back and we concentrate on Esher which is a game we need to win now

That sounds like a coach who is already focused. It’s a game they need to win if they’re not to fall too far behind the leading pack of teams chasing Hartpury. I still feel a top three place is definitely achievable with this squad, even after the start we’ve had and certainly our cause has been helped by some of the fancied teams above us coming unstuck themselves.

The Hartpury result certainly suggests that we are one of the best of the rest and Hartpury are going to drop points as the season progresses. A win on Saturday, an away win at that, is needed because it gives us back the momentum that we lost after the Macclesfield game. Having still yet to win an away game, a successful trip down to Molesey Road would also end what is becoming a bit of a millstone around Cov’s neck. 3 games and three losses on our travels. Another and it starts to play on the mind a little…

And whilst a win might be needed for the team, it definitely is for those supporters who travelled down to Esher last season. Victory might finally exorcise the demons that have plagued us ever since following a 46-5 defeat in which former Coventry winger Spencer Sutherland scored 4 tries.

Esher was a watershed moment last season, if not for the club, then definitely for me. It was the lowest point in a season of many lows…

It really is time to set the record straight.



Q. How many Head Coaches/Directors of Rugby have Coventry RC had over the last 13 years and how many of them can you name?

The answer to the question I posed at the top of the post regarding the number of Head Coaches/Directors of Rugby have had over the last 13 years is…


…a figure that includes Dave Addleton  who took on the Head Coach role in an acting capacity in both 2006 and 2008.

So, how did you get on…I only managed 7, although given that a couple were around for less than a season, I don’t feel too embarrassed in admitting that.

Considering Phil Maynard and then Scott Morgan held the role for 6 years between them, from 2008 to April of this year, it’s not a record that supporters can be overly proud of.

They are as follows:

  • 2016–present Rowland Winter (DOR)
  • 2013–2016 Scott Morgan
  • 2008–2013 Phil Maynard (DOR)
  • 2008 Dave Addleton (acting)
  • 2008 Brett Davey
  • 2007 Murray Henderson
  • 2006 Dave Addleton (acting)
  • 2005–2006 Mike Umaga
  • 2004–2005 Steve Williams
  • 2004 John White
  • 2003 Mark Donato

During that time, Coventry achieved the following league positions:

  • 2016-17: SSE National League 1 – ?
  • 2015-16: SSE National League 1 – 9th
  • 2014-15: SSE National League 1 –3rd
  • 2013-14: SSE National League 1 – 4th
  • 2012-13: National League 1 – 9th
  • 2011-12: National League 1 – 13th
  • 2010-11: National League 1 – 8th
  • 2009-10: RFU Championship – 11th (relegated)
  • 2008-9: National Division 1 – 9th
  • 2007-8: National Division 1 – 9th
  • 2006-7: National Division 1 – 10th
  • 2005-6: National Division 1 – 10th
  • 2004-5: National Division 1  – 6th
  • 2003-4: National Division 1  – 12th

With the exception of  perhaps the 2013-15 seasons, it hasn’t been the best of times to be a Coventry supporter, with Cov only on one other occasion, back in 2004-5, achieving an end of season position in the top half of the league they were in at that time.

It really is a pretty mediocre set of results really.

Having been lucky enough to watch Coventry in the  60s and 70s, it’s easy to forget that any supporters who began watching Coventry after the 1987-88 season will have never seen Coventry play anything but second tier rugby at best, that being the inaugural season of league rugby when we were relegated from the top tier, now referred to of course as the Premiership.

In education, schools are judged both by their attainment (raw results)  and  progress (attainment against  national averages). It’s lucky for us that that’s not the case in sport, and in rugby in particular. For the latter part of this period, we have been one of the better funded and better resourced teams in National 1 and it’s probably fair to say we have failed to deliver both in terms of attainment and progress. We wouldn’t be far off special measures…

That’s one of the reasons why I believe Rowland Winter’s appointment to be a huge step in the right direction. In recent years, Coventry appear to have had a lot of money invested into the playing side of the club, certainly relative to many of the club’s in National 1. Yet in most seasons we have underperformed.

An opinion only, I hasten to add…

The overhaul of the club, both on and off the field, was something that was desperately needed, the culmination of a number of years of stagnation, and even though 2014-15 was our best season by a distance in recent years, there were clear signs of the club falling in on itself. We only won 4 of our last 10 games and there were rumours of tensions within the club. And we were, and still are, only are in National 3. Hardly a golden era…

The cracks were there and when things imploded as they seemed to do mid-way through last season, with Phil Maynard’s move away from the playing side of the club, Scott’s short-lived appointment as Head of Rugby and then the sudden and dramatic announcement that RW was to become Head Coach from June of this year…well, it all came as no real surprise.

RW has taken on a daunting task, one that has proved too much for many Cov coaches over the years.

Rowland Winter and Jon Sharp are bringing Cov into the modern professional era and in doing so they are having to make sweeping changes across all areas of the club – changes that will eventually enable us to make a sustained challenge on the National 1 title.

Not immediately, but it will happen.

And that’s why I think supporters haven’t given either RW or the players a hard time over the recent defeats. We all  accept that this is a work in progress and that, other than the Blackheath game, there has been that progress, on and off the field.

One of the real positives for me about Saturday was the response from the players to the Blackheath game. Even when we were 12-3 down and Hartpury looked capable of cutting through our defence at will, Cov never faltered and they hauled themselves back into the game.

With the exception of the Richmond game last season, the last play of which would be on my top 10 Cov plays of all time*, Cov seemed to go from one poor performance to another, with little sign of improvement over the course of the season. If players can turn a negative into a positive, then that has to be an encouraging sign.

I think we do sometimes forget that Coventry’s recent history is somewhat mediocre, 2013-15 apart. I’m happy to bide my time and take a few defeats – it’s a question of losing the odd battle to win the war and prize for victory will hopefully be promotion.

I thought it would be interesting to conduct a quick poll amongst readers to determine which of HCs/DoRs over the course of the last 13 years (not including Rowland Winter) were the most popular amongst the supporters. Who on the list would you have liked to stay on? Who do you feel could have turned things around given more time? Some left to take up other roles, some because there were disputes between them and the club and some because the club moved them on.

But who did YOU rate most as Head Coach/Director of Rugby…?

All you need to do is choose who you feel have been the TWO best Coventry HCs/DoRs appointments in the last 13 years, prior to Rowland Winter’s arrival.

The criteria you decide upon to make your choice is entirely up to you.

Please do vote…I’ll close the poll at the end of tomorrow.

I deliberately haven’t included RW because he’s hasn’t been here long enough to be judged…

…give it a season though ;)!

Thank you for voting.

(*Cov defending a 20-20 score line against leaders Richmond  who went through 30+ phases in and around our 30m line in an effort to score the winning points)




4 thoughts on “No vintage whine from Boris, previous Cov Head Coaches and a poll

  1. Hi John…I can see that might be a problem! Not to worry, thanks for replying and thanks for taking time to read the post!

  2. Cant vote as only been watching since Phil and Scott have been in charge being a relative newby

  3. Very fair point about Boris’ cuteness! Hasn’t stopped previous coaches/Head Coaches having a pop in the past! Definitely a good idea to get them on board though! As for the dream, I can see Nintendo and SEGA vying for the exclusive rights for the video game…bags I Donkey Kong, although Sonic would be good too! I’m sure Pikachu would have some impact coming off the bench, alongside Link…who actually I might have to opt for instead of DK! You definitely need a bit of counselling! Great comment though!

  4. It seems a lot of people (myself definitely included) aren’t aware of the intricacies of all of the laws of this fine game, so it was good to see Boris back the officials in their decisions in the match. Refereeing at this level can be a tad sketchy at times which is frustrating but understandable. Also could Boris be being a little bit ‘cute’ (not sure if he’s been described as that too often) with regards to other refs who will no doubt be aware of what the clubs they officiate say? Will they view us slightly more favourably if we are seen to be backing them, rather than having a go or moaning about them like some other clubs may do.
    I awoke from my Spanish slumbers this morning after a very disturbed nights sleep, I had dreamt the whole of Saturdays match v Esher and I’m afraid we lost 7-6. That included some players who seemed to be from 80’s/90’s computer games. Dan Rundle was Sonic The Hedgehog, Boris & Pricey were Donkey Kong & Ryu from Street Fighter, Rhodri was ‘Tails’ from Sonic, Rob Knox was PacMan, Pritch as Super Mario, James Stokes as Crash Bandicoot amongst others.
    Suffice it to say I won’t be having the Manchego cheese again this holiday!

Any thoughts:

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