On the 3rd day of Christmas…

Day 3 of the  Cov Blog’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) 2019  poll results.

And this time it’s 10th place that’s up for grabs.

And today you voted for:

Henry Purdy

It says a lot about the man that after just 4 games he should find himself in the top 10 of the MVP poll.

But there again, Henry Purdy is no ordinary player and even in a squad that can boast several with international and/or Premiership experience, the reputation he brings with him is sure to whet the appetites of supporters anxious to see what someone of his quality can add to the team.

Purdy’s potential worth to Cov (on the pitch, as well as in the pocket) should he stay with the club is pretty much a given so, realistically, his place in the MVP top 12 was always likely, even after just 4 games.

And already Purdy is impressing, lying second  in The Rugby Paper Average Player Ratings behind Luc Jeannot who has performed so strongly since his recall from Chinnor.

A slight digression here, but when HP arrived I was reminded of the time a couple of seasons ago when a prominent member of the Supporters’ Club messaged me asking about my thoughts on the forthcoming announcement of the Mark Key signing. Well, for the life of me I couldn’t recall a Mark Key playing Premiership rugby and even ‘Googled’ the name to try and glean some information about what was obvious a major signing for the club…or so I thought.

It was, of course, a wind up. I confessed I hadn’t heard and tried to bluff my way round not knowing who Mark Key was, failing miserably. It was a ‘marquee’ signing that club had hinted was imminent, but I’d fallen hook line and sinker for the Mark Key reference.

I only mention this because Henry Purdy’s arrival is a real marquee signing, a statement of intent as far as the club is concerned.

In attracting Henry Purdy, Cov Rugby has announced to players in a similar position to him in the Premiership that this is a club that is not just ambitious, it’s also a club that won’t buy success in the short term but is happy to build on it in the longer term.

Comments from the club suggest that Henry Purdy is keen to return to the Premiership sooner rather than later which is totally understandable, but with the likes of Forsyth, Wallace and Burrows already bedded in, perhaps the club can persuade HP and others that Project Cov is one worth investing their time and efforts in.

And if Purdy does move on at the end of this season, at least his arrival here has opened up doors elsewhere that in previous seasons would have been well and truly shut for players still very much in the prime of their careers.

And The Rugby Paper was quick to recognise the significance of the signing:

‘The Rugby Paper has confirmed that Coventry’s spending spree has continued with the prized capture of former Gloucester back-three star Henry Purdy’.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but does Director of Rugby Rowland Winter’s comment on the website pre-Purdy’s arrival hint at the possibility of a stay longer than just the remainder of this season?

‘Henry is a talented player and we are delighted that he has chosen to continue his career at Coventry’

 

Henry Purdy breaks through the Ampthill defence to score his maiden try for the club…a try that had the crowd purrrdying (I’m so sorry…) Photo courtesy of John Coles

Coventry Rugby only confirmed that Henry Purdy  would be joining the club as recently as November.

The 25-year-old had spent 3 months in New Zealand with Otago and before that five seasons with Gloucester, whom he joined from Leicester Tigers in 2014. In total, he scored 28 tries in 82 appearances for the Cherry and Whites and was part of the European Rugby Challenge Cup winning squad in 2015.

After the departure of Jonny May,  Purdy had looked likely to become a regular in the Gloucester set up, putting in some consistently strong performances. However, a shoulder injury playing for Hartpury in February 2018 ended his season.

During his return to fitness, Ollie Thorley had become one of the standout wingers in the country,  Matt Banahan had arrived from Bath and Tom Marshall was being used  on the wing. Charlie Sharples had also been scoring tries. As a result, Purdy found a return to the team difficult and in the end the club decided not to renew his contract.

LFrom what I’ve read since his arrival, there was a feeling at Gloucester that Purdy’s best position is at outside centre and playing in the centres might have been his best chance of having a future at the club –  but he’d had few opportunities to show what he could do there.

Maybe we could yet see him at 13 for Cov, perhaps?

Purdy was also a former England Under-20 international and was a member of the U20s World Cup winning squad 2013 and 2014, significantly a squad that was coached in part by Coventry Rugby’s Head Coach Nick Walshe. Such is the way these things work.

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So Henry Purdy comes in at 10 in the Blog’s MVP poll.

It’s 4th Day of Christmas tomorrow and plenty of surprises to come.

So far then:

Day 3 – Henry Purdy

Day 2 – Adam Peters

Day 1 – Senitiki Nayalo 

Author: Tim

Any thoughts:

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