Yeah, you can be the greatest, you can be the best, you can be the king kong banging on your chest…

17Feb - by Tim - 13 - In Club talk
You can beat the world, you can win the war,
You can talk to God, go banging on his door…
And the world’s gonna know your name
‘Cause you burn with the brightest flame
And the world’s gonna know your name
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame
You could go the distance
You could run the mile
You could walk straight through hell with a smile
You could be the hero
You could get the gold
Breaking all the records that thought, never could be broke
Do it
The Script – Hall Of Fame
Breaking all the records that thought, never could be broke
Well we’ve already started to rack them up – our record number of tries in a season,  our highest average attendance since we’ve been in National One, and we’re well on the way to our highest points total in a season…
And it’s just the beginning for this squad.
And the world’s gonna know your name
Well, the rugby world anyway – and maybe just those that follow National One and the Championship at that.
But even so…
By all accounts, this is a happy squad, a squad that has been 18 months in the making. Yes, there have been some changes, with several players coming in last summer, but there is a real consistency to selection these days.
Rowland Winter has said he chooses from a current group of around 24 players, so with a match day squad of 20 plus the two travelling reserves there aren’t going to be any major surprises – the players coming in are going to be experienced at this level and above which means there are never going to be any major concerns about us putting out weakened teams over the remaining fixtures.
Tuitupou is left out for Stevens or Nilsen for Tolmie and so on.
Hardly a cause for great concern either way.
Cov can rest players knowing that the replacements available to come in are going to do just as good a job.
Take last week, for example. It might not have been our finest performance of the season, but the coaches opted to give Latu Makaafi a well-earned rest and brought in Brett Daynes to take his place – and Brett then duly proceeds to win the Man of the Match award.
Not a bad player to have in reserve is he, Brett Daynes?
There’s strength in depth in every position. Even Luc Jeannot, the least experienced and youngest member of the current Coventry senior squad, is quickly becoming one of the first choice props. Okay, he tends to come on off the bench BUT he is invariably getting 50 plus minutes a game and hasn’t once looked out of place in the current squad. And he’s playing on both sides of the scrum despite preferring tight-head.
You could go the distance
You could run the mile
20 wins from the first 21 games suggests that this is a squad that really could go the distance.
Indeed, should go the distance. The mile is a mere sprint.
There are still one or two of us supporters who find it difficult to accept that we are as close to promotion as we have been since we were relegated to National One back in 2010 (almost within touching distance if results elsewhere today work in our favour). We prefer, instead, to believe that somewhere along the way we’re going to blow a fuse or two – but the potential for this team to remain in pole position over the remainder of the season isn’t something many of us would question.
For me, if there is a doubt, then it has to be the worry that there is still another performance similar to the one we witnessed against Blackheath lurking somewhere in the not too distant future. The coaches and players put that partly down to complacency and if we are to be beaten over the next nine games, then that’s probably going to be a factor, especially at home where we have been unbeatable these past 16 and a half months.
Not even Darlington should beat us at home, especially given their away record.
You could walk straight through hell with a smile
There have been one or two games this season where we’ve had to really dig deep and arguably the opposition has deserved to come away with more than just a losing bonus point.
Old Elthamians, Ampthill, Bishop’s Stortford…to name but three. But we remained focused and have kept smiling, through relief as much as sheer elation at times. But such experiences only make you stronger if you are willing to learn from them.
And this is a team that continues to learn. I’m sure for the likes of Sam Tuitupou, Luke Narraway, Latu Makaafi and Phil Nilsen this has been one hell of a steep learning curve. Having played Premiership or Championship rugby for most, if not all, of their rugby lives, National One must be a real eye-opener. But one of the most impressive things for me is how all those so-called Galaticos (credit to Paul Smith for that one) have rolled up their sleeves along with the rest of the squad and got stuck in.
It’s all about that old adage of there being no ‘I’ in team.
If Cov is to falter today, it surely won’t be because Cambridge are the more skillful side. If they win, it’s because they’ll want it more and even that’s unlikely.
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame
Better on the day? Perhaps. But not the better side, not over the course of a season.
There is a place in the Hall of Fame waiting for these players if they get promoted. Once or twice a season I’ll be sitting next to Sam on the coach or at the BPA when one of us will ask the other to either name the team that played Newcastle in ‘that’ game or the one that beat Reading  in 1996 to win promotion from Courage National Division 3 to National Division 2.  We seldom fail. Heroes every one of them.
For those players back then the kudos of being part of such momentous moments in the club’s history remains even today.
And the same will be true for the current squad should they win promotion this season.
They’ll be Cov legends in their own right. A decent enough incentive.
And I’d be surprised if we do come up short in April for another reason, one that no one has yet mentioned.
In most interviews on the club website (other than those involving senior players dropping down a tier or two) over the last couple of seasons, players and coaches have talked about the desire to test themselves at the next level. It’s a target that most, if not all, strive to achieve. And it is now a real possibility – so what better incentive is there to win the remaining games. And to earn the right to play in the second tier of the English game by winning promotion must surely be far more satisfying that ‘just’  being recruited by a Championship side.
Winning it as a team and for each other….
And besides, whilst I have no idea how these things work, I  imagine that promotion also brings with it a better salary and improved benefits/sponsorship deals…? Many players have already committed themselves to the club for the next couple of seasons; they certainly won’t want to be spending another in National One with more money presumably on offer should we gain promotion in April.
The team had their wobble down at Blackheath. They’ve recovered well enough, although they’ve yet to hit the heights of some of the performances pre-Christmas, other than perhaps against Esher. Personally, I can’t see something similar happening again and if we are going to be caught out, then it will be because we have been outplayed and outthought or because we approached the game with a degree of complacency. Unlikely again.
Lessons learned, I hope.
Most weeks I’ll exchange messages with one of the senior figures at  Cambridge who has followed Cov closely since Rowland’s arrival, along with several of their ex-players, and reads the blog just to get a different perspective of how things are progressing. He’s certainly very upbeat about Cambridge’s chances and has suggested  quite rightly that his side have nothing to lose  – everyone expects them to be beaten, and beaten conclusively, so there is little pressure on them in that respect.
It appears the ‘nothing to lose’ mentality has now become a hashtag on the Cambridge Twitter feed:
Only one more sleep until we take on @RowlandWinter and his table topping @CoventryRugby – excited? #NothingToLose #LetsBeatThemInTheirOwnBackyard #TogetherWeAreBloodAndSand
and it’s not hard to see why they’re promoting it. Having already been beaten by us over at theirs, and given all the links that tie the two clubs together at the moment, Cambridge will want to make something of a statement.
Will they be up for it?
Too right they will.
It’s what makes them perhaps more dangerous than most sides  and we’ll definitely need to be on our guard, especially in the opening 10 or 15 minutes of each half. We expect all teams to raise their game when they come to the BPA. Cambridge even more so.
I was really pleased to see what looks to be a strong match day squad for today’s game. I’d hoped Makaafi and Nilsen would return, and with Daynes and Tuitupou on the bench, there’s real quality there should it be needed. We know Jeannot will get a decent run out and with Tolmie and Fenner also ready to come on at any time,  the ‘finishers’ are certainly more than capable of…err…finishing.
Maybe we’re a bit short should Pete White take a knock, although I imagine either Stokes or Grove would move across – or, failing that, scrum half is about the only position Tolmie has yet to play this season. Grove and Stevens will defensively be very well organised, but it might  mean a slight  loss of creativity in midfield, or will Grove provide the ball for Stevens to cause problems in the Cambridge defences? It will be interesting to see how the two of them pair up.
I’m expecting a really tough test this afternoon and even though the pitch should have dried out considerably over these last couple of days, the game might well be won and lost in the forwards.
For Cov, it’s another step towards that hall of fame…
Nine to go and counting.
Up the Cov
Oh, and good luck to Plymouth today as well – here’s hoping Eoghan Grace has a stormer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A number of people have enquired as to whether I’ll be ‘tweeting’ updates from today’s game, so given the interest I’m more than happy to do so. Many thanks to everyone who said they follow them on a match day – even one of the players came across after the game at Loughborough and mentioned that his mum and dad followed the game via @Cowshedtim…
Cov has its own match day Twitter feed (@CoventryRugby) – mostly just the scores and the main moments in the game, although informative and of interest.
I should add Cambridge has its own, too, and has been for a few seasons now light years ahead of other clubs in the use of social media. Their match  day info and commentary is second to none – other teams, including Coventry, have much to learn from Cambridge’s feed – they’re on @camrufc. It is a bit ‘mechnical’ and the algorithms rely on statement banks but visually it is excellent. Cov please take note.
However, if you are interested in something slightly different, then I try and give a sense of the atmosphere/occasions as well and tend to tweet rather more than Cov, a lot more in fact, so if you’re at home and just surfing the net trying to find out anything you can about the game, this might be a different option.
The tweets, when combined, make a crude ‘commentary’ of sorts and it will be rather more personalised than the Cambridge feed – the two might work well together (I’m talking myself out of some followers here)
Be warned though, you might get well over a 130 plus tweets during the course of the game – so if that is too much, mute me and use the club’s official feed.
Please bear in mind, I am a bit one-eyed when I tweet. I’ll certainly be fairly emotive I imagine, so be warned if you are tuned in!
I’m on @Cowshedtim
Apologies in advance for some of the typos that appear. For some though, the deciphering of the tweets adds to the occasion.
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 at the bottom of the homepage. Click on it to increase its size.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Script – not quite U2, but as Irish rock bands go, they’re definitely up there…a bit more MOR but still good nevertheless. This is a great video of Hall Of Fame (better than the one featuring will i am!)
Play it loud as the players warm up – it should be the club’s  anthem over the next few games…
Here’s hoping the team follow The Script tomorrow – if the lads play with the same energy and commitment shown by Danny O’Donoghue in the final 60 seconds of this clip, then they’ll win  by a country mile…

13 thoughts on “Yeah, you can be the greatest, you can be the best, you can be the king kong banging on your chest…”

  1. Thanks for that Tim. another great read. What exciting times we are witnessing at the BPA. COVENTRY COVENTRY COVENTRY!!!!!!!!

    1. Hi Pauline – aren’t they just. Another big hurdle today but hopefully Cov will be up to the challenge, tough as it will be.

  2. Glass half empty sort of guy come 16.40 we will be 11 points clear – Squeaky bum time!

    Glass half full sort of guy(me) come 16.40 we will be 21 points clear – Mr Hood put the fizz on ice!

    Seriously though, we will have some nail biting times between now and the end of the season, but to lose 4 out of 9, i cant see it.

    1. Looking forward to seeing the both of you celebrate in style! Half full – have to be. 16 points ahead at least – the other five is out of our hands but here’s hoping! I’m with you – losing 4 gams would be a shock to say the least.

  3. As a rider I notice that your blog is approaching half a million hits, it would be fantastic to see this number breach the half million before the end of the season.

    1. Hi Peter – Glad you were able to pick up the tweets! DMP aren’t the strongest of sides In this league away from home so hopefully something will give…so long as we keep winning they are powerless. Let’s keep it that way! Hope you both had a lovely break Yes…will be close. Have a holiday planned so might not quite make it…

  4. Many a banana skin about still, we need to be at our best for each and every game from now on. The more we can apply pressure by taking five points each game will pile it on DMP.
    As for your tweets, during my holiday in the Caribbean they were warmly received and retweeted to the extent I received a yellow card from one daughter and granddaughter. Bring it on 🏉🏉🏉🍾🍻

    1. Hi Peter – Glad you were able to pick up the tweets! DMP aren’t the strongest of sides In this league away from home so hopefully something will give…so long as we keep winning they are powerless. Let’s keep it that way! Hope you both had a lovely break…

  5. I’m with you as well, but then I tend to agree with most you say. I think though (say it quietly) that beating DMP next week and them losing today will pretty much see us promoted, but thinking it won’t stop me worrying for each result!!

    1. Yes – two wins in the next two weeks would make the run in slightly less daunting but both games will be tough, but for different reasons I guess. The players individually and as a team are too professional to throw it away now, surely, especially with such experienced coaches behind them. That’s the theory, anyway…

  6. Cambridge are a good side that has improved during the season. Confidence sky high and yes nothing to lose. I am sure Darren Fox has influenced their strength and fitness. Really looking forward to today and I think it could be one of the most enthralling games of the season. I have even grown some finger nails for the occasion. I am expecting a game over the full 80 today. I hope our handling and decision making is a little sharper than last week. Also come on Plymouth!

  7. Totally agree Tim, no complacency today. Start the game with energy and focus, win the battle upfront, score first, keep the lead, score 4 tries, win the game. Secure 5 more league points and then we are getting close.

    1. It will be a battle up front to begin with but at home with the side we’ve selected we should have enough in the tank. Could be a bit feisty, this one….!

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