Firstly, Merry Christmas and a huge thank you for following the blog, whether as a seasoned veteran or simply as an occasional browser.
Whilst it is very much a hobby and no more, the fact that it is read by others is very much appreciated.
Twelfth place in this season’s Cov Blog – Most Valuable Player 2019 poll goes to:
Congratulations, Tiki – the first player to make the MVP list in 2018/19.
And it’s an impressive achievement too. I know that some readers who take part in the poll are reluctant to give their vote to players new to the club that season as they have yet to make their mark in the same way that long serving players already have.
Fijian Senitiki Nayalo joined Cov back in the summer from Guinness Pro14 side Edinburgh, having spent the two previous seasons at London Irish. He is also a serving Gunner in 7 Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery.
At nearly 6ft 2 ins and just under 18 stone, he’s what Bill Maclaren would have called a ‘a big unit’ and he was fortunate to have attended Millfield School, a school steeped in sporting traditions.
Edinburgh Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, described him as an ‘abrasive ball carrier’ and in the relatively short time he’s been here, he has certainly added strength and depth to the back row.
On his arrival at the club, Rowland Winter said of him:
Sentiki – or Shane as he is known – comes highly recommended and is already known to a few of the boys. He is an exciting player with a big character and I am sure the supporters will really take to him
and on the evidence of this poll, taken they are.
Shane is physically huge but also hits hard and moves fast. He can play at No.6 or No.8 as he is very mobile and hard-working. Alongside Ryan Burrows he offers us a real point of difference in the back row which will complement our current options
With Ryan Burrows tending to play at No 8, SN has played 6 and his mobility around the pitch is something that adds to the options Winter has in the back row and along with with Nutley, Burrows, Peters and Ram, there is some real beef in there these days. And at 6ft 1, Luke Wallace isn’t exactly a minnow, either.
And for options, read competition.
Ensuring that there are at least two players competing for every position is something that RW set his stall out to do from the moment he arrived at Cov. That wasn’t always the case, especially in the Maynard/Morgan season that precipitated RW’s arrival when a small squad and a number of injuries (especially in the back row) resulted in Cov regularly lacking options in key positions.
8 subs rather 7 has meant that RW has been able to give his back rowers plenty of game time, so much so that In the Championship, ‘Tiki (as he apparently prefers to be known) has played in all 7 games, coming off the bench on 4 of them. He has scored a couple of tries in the process and looks to enjoy taking players on whenever he gets the chance.
In just a short time Senitiki Nayalo has clearly won the respect of Coventry supporters already and with the team as successful as it currently is, hopefully we’ll see him continue to develop into the role Winter is asking of him. Having the ability to play both at 6 and 8 makes him particularly useful, especially as Burrows will need resting for some games the longer the season goes on, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Senitiki over the coming months.
So that’s the first of the twelve days sorted.
It’s the 2nd Day of Christmas tomorrow. Who will be the second player in the MVP top 12 to be revealed?