Yes, I’m wrapped in a
Dream of needing you so
The feeling is strong
And I can’t let go
You’ve got me dangling on a string
Please don’t let me drop
My life would surely stop
Chairman of the Board – (You’ve Got Me) Dangling On A String
So Luke Narraway it is then…
and he won’t be another Will Johnson, that’s for sure.
On a two year contract, and in a player-coach capacity, the London Irish no 8 is going to add the sort of experience that has been so obviously missing at times this season, especially away from home.
I’m sure the belief is that in some of the games this season, like those against Plymouth and Ampthill for example, games where we had a decent lead but contrived to throw it away in the final minutes, results might have been different with a Luke Narraway in the side…and it’s hard to argue against that.
Narraway is a natural leader who has captained both Gloucester and London Irish, as well as England against the Barbarians, albeit in a game that wasn’t recognised as an official cap.
He’ll be able to control a game in a way many of the current players, in what after all is a young Coventry squad, aren’t yet able to do.The added bonus is that Narraway is also going to relish the attacking rugby that Coventry favours these days…even at 33, he is still a very athletic No 8 and just three years ago he was described as ‘one of the most mobile and highly skilled link players in Europe’ when his return to England from Perpignan was first announced.
With only 10 appearances this season, of which 6 have been starts, he should be fit and raring to go come the start of next season and the thought of him leading the team out onto the pitch for that first home game at the BPA is one to savour.
He’ll add options at no 8 that we haven’t had for some time, and that Narraway, White, Fenner/Maisey combination is one that is going to have a huge impact on the outcome of the league next season, one way or another.
From being an area of concern at times this season, the back row now has a Championship quality about it…there are all sort of options available to RW next season, but one of the more obvious starting line-ups would be:
6. Latu Makaafi (Brett Daynes)
- Luke Narraway (Possibly Tuilagi?)
7. Jack Preece (Olly Povoas)
It’s almost fantasy league rugby…
…three players who would certainly fit comfortably in most Championship sides and who are all now recruited to play for Coventry from June onwards.
Daynes, Povoas and Dyer/Tuilagi have competed with, and bettered more often than not, the opposition back rows in National One in recent weeks, including those of the likely promotions hopefuls next season (Plymouth, Rosslyn Park, Blackheath, Ampthill and even Moseley before Christmas)…add Makaafi, Narraway and Preece to the mix and it must be enough to make even the most pessimistic of Coventry supporters look to next season with some degree of expectation.
There’s a physical presence there too, one that perhaps that hasn’t been quite so evident this season and I can’t see too many teams dominating us in this area. With Narraway getting involved in the coaching of the forwards alongside Boris Stankovich and Louis Deacon, I ‘d hope to see him have the same kind of influence on the pitch as Brendon Snyman had before his sudden departure just after Christmas.
Too many cooks…
I don’t think so because it looks as if Rowland Winter has picked just the right recipe for success.
And put these three behind next season’s potential front five and we have something special in our midst.
With no changes to the front row other than the addition of Harry Morley, we already know what it is capable of and another season of Boris Stankovich working with them is only going to make them an even better unit.
Behind them there’s Tom Poole and Tom Jubb together with Nile Dacres and George Oram to choose from – and Dacres and Oram formed the second row pairing that performed so well for England Counties a few weeks ago.
As I said earlier – fantasy league rugby.
So the pack that starts the first league game might look something like.
(with Price, Litchfield/Boulton and Jubb/Daynes/Povoas as the replacements on the bench).
It’s got a pretty strong look about it and if that’s not enough to add a couple of hundred on to the gate then I don’t know what is…
No one can accuse Coventry of a lack of ambition these days, and that’s from the Jon Sharp and the rest of the board down.
And whilst it was stated on several occasions at the start of this season by RW and JS that Cov are building towards Championship rugby, it was also made clear that this was going to be a three year project at least..
That might well still be the case, but to those of us on the outside looking in, the squad that is currently being assembled for next season seems to have all the hallmarks of one capable of a top two, if not a top of the table, finish.
Has, then, the club decided to take the decision to opt for an earlier than planned assault on the title, given that there’s no Championship relegation this season? It must be something that’s been discussed and it does look to be Cov’s best chance of promotion over the next couple of seasons.
The infrastructure isn’t ready as yet to sustain Championship rugby as the club would want, but moves are afoot to put into place further income streams and a synthetic pitch seems to be something that is a distinct possibility in 12 months time (grass might well be the better next season anyway, option given the players we’ve recruited for next season?).
Provided the club isn’t overstretching itself financially in order to attract the Narraways and Makaafis (I’m sure they won’t be bargain basement buys), then I think most supporters would be fully behind such a decision.
It seems the obvious way to go…so long as the accountants are in agreement.
As a Coventry supporter, it is also reassuring that players of the calibre of Narraway and co are prepared to come to Coventry given the lowly position we currently find ourselves in. Improving certainly, but still National One – and all three will surely have had offers from Championship sides for next season at least.
To be willing to come here must suggest that they are impressed with what they have seen and heard from the likes of Rowland Winter and probably Jon Sharp as well. They will have their ears to the ground and will have been asking questions about the current management, the club’s financial viability and its short to mid-term vision and it certainly seems as if they’ve bought into them.
And I imagine there’s going to be no need to look beyond Luke Narraway as far as the captaincy is concerned, unless RW decides to opt for the two captain approach again this season.
And we know that there is still one announcement to be made, once that is even more likely to make the rest of the clubs in National One sit up and take notice than yesterday’s. We know it’s a midfielder and we know it’s a current premiership player (and some) as we were told that at training last week.
There were a few names being passed around at the Old Albanian game last weekend and any of them would do me, thank you very much.
12 months ago it was a case of ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’ and ‘You Gotta Crawl Before You Can Walk’…
Now , with the announcement of the signing of Luke Narraway and another marquee signing still to come, things seem to be changing
…it can’t be an easy job being Chairman of the Board…
But even so…I’m reeling.
Preece, Grove, Makaafi, Dacres, Oram, Narraway
Quality signings that seem to have come a year ahead of schedule…
Are we going to have a real push at promotion next season, or is this just another sin the build up? A case of just seeing how close this squad can take us next season and then add to it this time next year as appropriate?
Yes, it was a very much a case of ‘Give Me Just A Little More Time’
but now it very much a question of ‘You Keep Me Dangling On A String’…:
Chairman of the Board