Club talk

Cov v Rosslyn Park…run, Coventry, run

Watching Cov is rather like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates…

You’re never quite sure what you’re going to get except there are never any soft centres…

That said, we probably do have an inkling of what is to come following Rowland Winter’s comments on Thursday suggesting that there’s every likelihood that Coventry will show a far more attack-minded approach to the game this afternoon.

If nothing else it should make for a more entertaining game for the spectators than has proved to be the case in some of the previous away games this season.

None of the away games I’ve watched so far have been great Cov performances, although in fairness I did miss  the one against Moseley. And whilst I’m genuinely expecting Cov to come away with the points, if we are to lose I’d rather watch Coventry play the quick-tempo, run everything, expansive game that we all know Cov has in its armoury than the somewhat dour, 10 man rugby that we witnessed against Esher, Blackheath and Ampthill and still contrive to lose – or at least that’s how it seemed at times.

Rowland Winter mentioned at the Supporters’ Club evening this week that today’s team had been picked for it’s pace which will be an advantage on the synthetic surface at Rosslyn Park. He mentioned, for instance, that whilst Tom Poole offers a more physical threat at 5, and Rob Conquest is the better technician in the lineout, Tom Jubb is quicker around the pitch and with Coventry opting to revert back to a more open and high tempo game plan, Jubb’s presence will give more mobility to the forwards.

The loss of two of the three Wasps Academy players, namely Tom Howe and Jack Willis, is a blow. They aren’t players you can easily replace at this level and whilst it is a shame they were called up so late in the day, I’m sure Cov supporters will wish them well. If they do make their Premiership debuts, it will doubtless be the start of bigger and better things for the pair of them in seasons to come and, fingers crossed, we won’t have seen the last of them at the Butts over the next few weeks.

The fact that Wasps are prepared to blood them in the Premiership whilst still Academy players says much about both their ability and the club’s own selection policy – if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

Just by chance my daughter got hold of 4 tickets for the Wasps’ game on Sunday (freebies from my grandson’s junior school – to be fair, it’s the only way you’d get me into the Ricoh!), so with any luck I will have the privilege of watching them get some game time.

RW mentioned that Sam Harry’s  place on the bench was because he was probably the quickest of the back rowers available, so in that sense he is the natural replacement for Willis given the playing surface. I’ve yet to see Sam have anything other than a decent game.

His promotion into the starting line-up shows the trust placed in him by the coaches and with Wasps’ invitation to the young flanker (at least I understand why it’s flanker and not wing forward these days – thanks Rhys) to be part of their A team games, that faith in him is shared by the Premiership side as well. Alongside Sam in the back row are Olly Povoas and Darrel Dyer and the triumvirate of back rowers will be crucial in securing ball at the breakdown and hopefully the odd turn over, too.

Good luck to Sam…presumably Brett takes his place on the bench now…?

And good luck to Dan Rundle as well.  This hasn’t been the best of starts for Dan but perhaps The Rock  is the perfect place for him to make his return. A playing surface that will be quick, and hopefully dry, and in a team intent on running the ball wide is just the scenario he would probably want and, given his popularity amongst Cov supporters, he’ll get plenty of support from the travelling fans. If Coventry are able to get the ball wide, Owain James and Dan are going to cause the opposition problems, that’s for sure. And with Pete White certain to keep the ball moving at all times, it looks as though it will be a far busier day for the backs in attack than it has been away from home at any stage this season.

Tom Howe’s recall could be just the bit of luck Dan needs and with James Stokes returning, there is plenty of pace in the back division. The pairing of Corey Hircock and Tom Wheatcroft is beginning to look more permanent with each game and with Tony Fenner hopefully seeing plenty of ball, he’ll be able to get the backs into play early on, feeding off another dominant performance from the forwards. Andy Brown returns and although Boris Stankovich is being given a well-earned rest today, the front three, plus Matt Price and Phil Boulton should be able to cause considerable problems in the set pieces, together with Brendon Snyman and Tom Jubb.

With the Supporters’ Club Committee organising another coach this weekend, it means that there’ll be some good support for the team today, whilst also saving me a small fortune, too…something for which I am extremely grateful, especially in the run up to Christmas. Thanks must go to Cliff Bennett and Steve Hood, who is today’s coach manager…and a great job he does, too.

The weather in Roehampton looks set to stay fine all day, so Coventry couldn’t hope for better playing conditions given the time of year…

/7°RealFeel® 7°/4
Partly sunny:
  • 14 km/h
  • Precipitation: 1%
  • Rain: 0 mm
  • Snow: 0 CM
  • Humidity: 78%
  • Cloud Cover: 71%
  • Dew Point: 4° C
  • Visibility: 10 km

It’s going to be a tough one, for sure. Rosslyn Park’s lowly position in the league belies the recent form the team has shown and they’ll be confident of taking the points, especially given our poor away form. However, Coventry will travel down there in good heart on the back of a big win and looking forward to playing some attacking rugby…

It’s all set for a great game and a win today would set us up nicely for the next couple of games. Some of the top teams have got some really tricky fixtures coming up over the next few weeks so here’s our chance to catch up on a bit of lost ground and put some pressure on the teams in second and third place in the league.

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Whilst Rosslyn Park’s website is functional rather than visual, one thing that it includes is a weekly edition of their newsletter ‘Parknews’…the most readable and informative weekly update amongst any of the clubs in National 1…

at least I think it is…!

It includes match reviews, previews, general club info, letters from supporters, pressing matters etc, all in one newsletter…it’s well presented, with plenty of photos and generally the dog’s testicles, if you’ll pardon the phrase…

Definitely worth a read:

Parknews

although I’d have to disagree with the writer’s belief that as one of the pre-season favourites yet again this season, along with Rosslyn Park, Coventry has again ‘disappointed that expectation’. Maybe that was the case last season, but we certainly never saw ourselves as one of the favourites for promotion back in August, although I accept other teams might have done.

A good read nevertheless…

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As always:
If you’re not travelling across to Rosslyn Park but want to know what’s happening other than just updates of the scores, please let me know and I’ll be happy to tweet a ‘commentary’, although sometimes you have to decipher the tweets when the predictive text or my fat fingers get in the way.
@CoventryRugby will usually offer score updates (although not always at away games), as will the Messageboard – I’m not sure what Rosslyn Park do, but it might be worth looking at their Twitter account, too.
I do tend to text a lot during the game and try and give a bit more detail as to what is happening,  so if that’s something you might be interested in, then I’m on @Cowshedtim.

 

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter or don’t have an account, then on the homepage of this blog (www.coventryrfc.me), all the tweets will appear in real time on the far right of the page, towards the top end.

All this does depend on there being a signal from the ground of course…

Tim

 

 

 

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