Day 8 of the Cov Blog’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) 2019 poll results.
And this time it’s 5th place that’s up for grabs.
And today you voted for:
I can still recall a remark made by Scott Morgan concerning Rob Knox at a Fans’ Forum back in August 2015, a year before Rowland Winter took over as DoR. He was effusive in his praise of Rob, whom he said had ‘got it at any level’.
High praise indeed.
Forums weren’t the norm in those days (as also appears to be the case in the last 12 months or so???), so it wasn’t the sort of thing Cov supporters were used to hearing.
And to hear it said about a Coventry lad, born and bred, well it was one of those things you don’t forget, especially as Rob continues to show how accurate an observation it was.
The table below shows, Morgan’s comments came on the back of the 2014/15 season in which Rob Knox had played 29 games, scoring 16 tries (equal joint scorer with Dan Rundle I think?).
And in retrospect that 15/16 season, successful as it was, was also his undoing in that he played many of those 29 games with a series of niggling injuries and as a result wasn’t able to compete in much more than 50% of games over the next couple of seasons.
It was never said openly, but I got the distinct impression that the Rehab/Strength and Conditioning support on offer to players pre-Winter wasn’t perhaps all it needed to be and as a result it took a couple of seasons of working with Hannah Walker and Max Hartman to get Rob completely fit again and injury free.
It wasn’t until 2017/18 that Rob was again able to play a full season .
Rob has always struck me as being a confidence player and during that period when he was carrying injuries and there were doubts over his best position, centre or wing, he wasn’t the player he had been or would become again once he returned to full fitness.
Rob was one of only 6 or 7 players to be retained when Rowland Winter took over the reins at Cov (he’s the only player still at Cov who pre-dates RW’s arrival}. At the time, there was plenty of discussion amongst supporters when RW took the decision to play him on the wing during that first pre-season.
Comments from the coaches suggested that they felt his distribution and decision making occasionally let him down – out wide this obviously wouldn’t be such a problem. It took a while to convince many fans, but these days no one ever talks of Rob moving back to 12.
Having listened to Rowland Winter several times at training sessions, it is clear that he was viewed as a key player in the squad even then, one of the few potential match winners in the side, but equally someone who needed to grow into the role. Under Morgan and Maynard, Rob had mostly played in the centres, so a move out wide was a significant change for him.
One-on-one and the smart money is always going to be on him to score. Even from far out, Rob has the pace and balance to beat defenders and many of his tries have come from way out.
Under Rowland Winter and Nick Walshe’s tutelage, Rob has gone on to bigger and better things and he remains one of the most exciting players we’ve seen at Cov for a good while, probably since Will Hurrell.
Will makes things happen, a potential game changer who has the pace and power to worry any defence. His great strength umm, his strength. His ability to break the first tackle and turn defences means he is able to create chances seemingly out of nothing.
But it isn’t just about raw strength with Rob. He has the speed and agility to go round players too and for a big man, Rob maintains his speed well and once in front of the defender, he is rarely caught.
Rob has already played 134 games for Cov (remembering the data has come from Statbunker.com which isn’t always totally accurate) and has scored 63 tries. Given that he’s still not yet 28, three or four good seasons with Cov and he could yet hit that magic 100 mark.
And what celebrations they’ll be if that is the case…
…and he also has two penalties to his name. Both recent (ish) and both absolute boomers.
This season, Rob has played in five of the seven Championship games, starting in all but one. His TRP ratings are again impressive – an average of 6.67 for the games in which he’s started (this includes two Cup games as well), proof that as Morgan suggested back in 2015, the step up to the Championship wouldn’t be too much of a challenge for him.
Will is another of the Coventry players to have appeared in Phil Boulton’s The Rugby Paper Dream XV. PB is surely one of the most respected players to have put on a Cov jersey in recent years, leading the club to promotion back in 2018 and someone who has clearly adopted the club as his own after 200 plus appearances for Bedford, as well as spells at Rotherham and Leicester to boot. So for him to include Rob in a side of the best players he has played with or against is a real honour.
And his comments show the regard in which he is held by his peers:
‘Mr Coventry’ just doesn’t know how good he is but those of us who play with him appreciate his brilliance. Should player higher and still has time to do so.‘
There it is again, ‘should player higher and still has time to do so‘.
Let’s hope we get to see him in the top flight…with Coventry Rugby, of course.
Below is a clip of the 80m try he scored against Macclesfield in Nat One…if you’re like me, you’ll watch it several times on the loop. It’s a corker!
As with so many other Cov players, the work Rob has done in the community has been something he has taken extremely seriously and it is clear that he regards it as a very important aspect of his current role at the club.
Rob has spent several seasons working with children for whom physical disability or health-related issues make it particularly difficult to enjoy any form of physical exercise. In his role as a coach at Sherbourne Fields, Rob is able to develop the wider key skills of teamwork and leadership to enable these children to enjoy aspects of physical exercise that otherwise might not be open to them.
‘Rob’s…ability to coordinate activities that are accessible and enjoyable to all using these values at the core of their coaching has really enhanced and improved our pupils communication skills, self-esteem and confidence. To have such positive role models in our school who can meet the needs of the hardest to reach children has a lasting positive influence. (S Duffy-Moriarty – Headteacher, Sherbourne Fields)‘
Well done, Rob.
It’s the 9th Day of Christmas tomorrow and the top 4 places are still to be settled.
Here’s how it’s gone so far:
Day 8 – Rob Knox (5th)
Day 7 – Rory Jennings and Will Maisey (6th)
Day 6 – Pete White (7th)
Day 5 – Tony Fenner (8th)
Day 4 – Luke Wallace (9th)
Day 3 – Henry Purdy (10th)
Day 2 – Adam Peters (11th)
Day 1 – Senitiki Nayalo (12th)