Le Roux fires the first shots and Craig Newby
Please release me, let me go
For I don’t love you anymore
To waste our lives would be a sin
Release me and let me love again
Engelbert Humperdinck – Release Me
Birmingham Moseley’s Jacques Le Roux…
…no, wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right.
Ex-Coventry No 8, Jacques Le Roux…
…there, that’s better…
…has certainly upped the ante somewhat prior to Saturday’s eagerly anticipated local derby against Moseley.
As if the stakes weren’t high enough already, in an article by David Lawrence in The Birmingham Post, former Cov fans’ favourite Le Roux admitted that:
I would give anything to be in the starting line-up next week as I have quite a score to settle there…
Just what that score is, I have no idea and, anyway, you would have thought it might have been settled in the first game over at Billesley Common back in September, especially as Jacques was on the wining side and scoring a try in the process.
But clearly that’s not the case.
So whatever it is, it clearly runs deep and he wants it settled in front of Coventry’s home supporters, many of whom were so disappointed to see him leave at the end of last season.
Le Roux added, presumably tongue-in-cheek, following his Man of the Match Award in the win against Esher last weekend:
Hopefully, I’ve done enough to keep my place
But whilst something has clearly got to Le Roux, whatever it is will have little or no impact on the Coventry team as the vast majority of the team out on the pitch on Saturday weren’t at the club last season to understand what it is that is still needling him.
Jacques is a great player, of that there is no doubt, and had he not been so unlucky with injuries he would have made twice as many starts in the four years he was with us. Always popular whilst at Cov, Jacques won the much coveted (!) 2015 MVP award as voted by readers of this blog…(voting for the 2016 MVP player is now days away!)
That said, we’ve moved on…
…time he did, too!!! 😉
In the same article, Le Roux talks about the depth Moseley have in the back row, singling out Jack Preece:
I don’t know where he gets his energy from…when there’s a ruck Jack is always there to get his hands on the ball. He’s an amazing player…(he’s) one player who is just going for the ball all the time…
Signed from Rotherham in the close season, Preece was twice in the Championship ‘Dream’ team at 7, was also on a central contract with the England 7s set up and is versatile enough to play hooker as well.
Moseley certainly have a settled back row and it’s one of the areas they might expect to have a clear advantage in. In contrast, Coventry’s back row seems to change all too regularly, although with Freddie Tuilagi playing in the middle of the back three we seem to have a genuine no 8. Darrel Dyer and Eoghan Grace have been regulars, together with Sam Harry, Ali Bone and Olly Povoas who have all had their part to play.
But just what our best combination is, I’m not sure.
This is one game where it would be good to see young Jack Willis back in the mix; his ability both to win the ball at the breakdown and make big yards when carrying would make him a real threat. Whilst the game probably won’t be decided just on the effectiveness of the respective back rows, they will almost certainly have a say in the outcome.
And if that is the case, then I’d be much happier with Jack Willis back in the side.
From a supporters perspective, this is the one game of the year where I’d like Rowland Winter to play his strongest available side. For many Cov fans, Saturday’s game is about more than just the four or five points for the win…it’s about pride and passion and all the other clichés that go with local derbies of such long standing.
Player rotation and the resting of some players whilst giving a chance to others, all that should be thrown out of the window for a game of this nature.
I guess this wouldn’t go down too well with the coaches, but for me Saturday’s game is simply about getting the win.
…the beautiful game, the champagne rugby, the expansive, edge of your seat stuff that we’ve seen in patches at home this season…?
Not interested really.
Ugly and attritional will do me fine if it means we come out on top.
Once Saturday’s over, then let’s go back to trying to play with width and at pace.
Against Moseley, though…let’s just win.
The announcement of the team tomorrow is the first real indication of RW’s intentions…will we opt for strength and power in the forwards or a more mobile pack? Will the backs include James and Trimble out wide and is there a case for bringing Tom Howe back somewhere. Does he stick with Hodgson at 15 or move Stokes back to full back, in which case where would Cliffie play…?
Lots of questions…all to be answered shortly.
I just love Thursday mornings during the rugby season.
I do really like Moseley as a club, always have done, even to the extent of occasionally going to watch them in the dim and distant past if Cov weren’t at home …but I’m ashamed to say I come over all tribal whenever Coventry play them.
To illustrate this, there’s a rugby union version of Football/Championship Manager out at the moment (Rugby Union Team Manager 2017) – a computer game where you manage a club through a league season overseeing everything from training, loans, buying in new players, tactics etc.
It also allows you manage National 1 sides in a bid to get promoted to the Championship and beyond.
…and it’s on my Xmas list.
And when Santa delivers, as I know she will (I’ve taken a peak in her wardrobe), the first game I’ll set up will be a friendly between Coventry and Moseley at home. Forget Wasps or Leicester or the like…it’s National 1 for me.
Now I’m guessing the actual players’ names will be different, so even before I play I’ll go into the editor and create a squad exactly as we have at present and make sure I cheat and put their individual stats up as high as I can…and then they’ll play Moseley…and replay them and replay them again.
So when the blog goes quiet for a couple of weeks, you’ll know the reason why…
Admitting that probably doesn’t do me any favours, but this is Cov v Mose we’re talking about.
The appointment of Craig Newby as defence coach next month is an extremely welcome one, but doesn’t come as any great surprise.
In one of his first interviews with Paul Smith for the Coventry Telegraph back in August, RW even then refers to Craig by name and it is clear from what he says that the two worked very well together prior to RW’s appointment as Director of Rugby at Coventry:
Myself and Craig Newby were appointed as Director of Rugby and Head Coach and we found the club in a mess. They were three years on from a major financial difficulty, and the playing side needed a complete turnaround…
The challenges were therefore about linking the top of the club to the bottom, bringing back a club culture, creating a pathway from the vibrant youth set-up into the senior teams and getting away from that mercenary approach where they’d brought in players from all around the world apart from Cambridge
In recent weeks Newby has done some work with Cov as a ‘guest’ coach, so once the decision to release James Pritchard was taken it seemed pretty clear that Craig Newby would be the man to come in.
According to Rowland Winter:
Craig will join us as defence coach, initially working with the team midweek and starting in January
which might mean for the time-being he has commitment else where on a Saturday…?
Defence is an area where Coventry have really struggled this season and if Craig Newby has the impact that we are hoping for, then his is a very significant addition to the coaching team.
I think most supporters feel some sympathy for James Pritchard in that he came with a great playing pedigree but with relatively little coaching experience and it clearly didn’t work out for him. He seemed popular with supporters off and on the pitch, but if his main role at Cov was as a coach, then it’s hard to argue against the decision to let him go, even if the timing wasn’t the best.
Craig Newby has a tough job ahead of him, but he knows what is involved and, unlike James, he has plenty of experience to fall back on.
I’m sure he’ll be made to feel very welcome.
For anyone interested in a bit more background to Craig, I thought this might be of interest.
Many thanks to everyone who has taken part in the poll. As it’s been so popular, I’ll close it at the end of today and put the results in Friday’s post. If you haven’t yet voted and would like to do so, I have included it again below.
Please remember when voting to take into account not just the results on the pitch, but also the effectiveness, or otherwise, of changes that have been made off it as well as.
Please release me…
(…we probably took this a little too literally last season though)