Don’t need no politician, tell me things I shouldn’t be
Neither no optician, tell me what I ought to see
No one tells you nothing
Even when you know they know
But they tell you what you should do
They don’t like to see you grow…
Eddie and the Hot Rods – Do Anything You Wanna Do
Last Friday evening was the first opportunity for most Cov supporters to watch the U18s in action at the BPA after a number of games played away from home.
The visitors were Brooksby Melton College (BMC) and whilst the name might not mean a great deal to many (I certainly hadn’t heard of them prior tothis season), the team is in fact Leicester Tigers’ own ASSE college side – ASSE being an acronym for ‘Achieving Academic and Sporting Excellence’.
I imagine the majority of Coventry’s U18s are attached for the most part to a number local schools or colleges, but a quick look at the Tigers website suggests that their BMC side are all full-time students at Brooksby Melton College, benefitting considerably from its partnership with Tigers, presumably studying a Level 2/3 course but also having at least 10 hours of ‘expert coaching’ from Leicester Tigers, as well as making full use of their own facilities.
- Sport science lab
- High performance gym
- Full-sized sports hall
- Full-sized 3G all-weather pitch
- Grass rugby pitches
- Work experience opportunities with Leicester Tigers
Tigers and BMC apparently ‘combine expertise in vocational sports education, professional rugby and personal development to prepare students for Higher education or a career in sport, – so there you go.
Information on the Cov U18s seems pretty scare at the minute and I’ve only seen what has come through the Coventry Rugby Supporters’ Club who are the team’s official sponsor, although it might well be that there is other information available elsewhere, so apologies if I’ve missed it.
(BTW, I reckon it’s well worth joining the CRSC for their sponsorship of the U18s alone, even if you don’t travel to the away games – your £20 really does help the club give these youngsters an opportunity that might otherwise be unavailable to them elsewhere.)
Whilst I appreciate that Cov have ensured the U18s are as well resourced as they can be at the BPA, especially in terms of the coaching staff led by Phil Boulton, I imagine that the BMC squad have far more time together to train as a group than our own youngsters. Their campus has recently undergone a £27.7 million investment to include a ‘brand new Sports Centre with a full-sized, multi-functional sports hall, a sport science lab, strength and conditioning gym, and IT-equipped teaching spaces for students to complete theory work’.
I only mention the above to illustrate the advantage the BMC boys currently have – although from what I saw on Friday there was little difference in terms of performance between the two sides. In the end, Cov lost 17-19, but having won the away fixture earlier in the season honours are even, although I’d argue bragging rights probably favour Cov given the above.
The game was strongly contested by both teams and I was genuinely impressed by the quality of rugby and the degree of passion on display. The turnovers, the penalties won at lineouts and scrums, the knock-ons created through big hits – all were greeted with whoops and hollers.
Both sides were missing some key players, although the Cov side probably suffered rather more from absences, but the quality of rugby was still very good and in terms of spectator interest/excitement, well there was plenty to enjoy, with Coventry almost nicking it at the death.
It was interesting watching Phil Boulton with the youngsters before kick off. He appears to be a coach who enjoys being involved in the thick of it rather than standing on the sidelines and he had their attention for the whole time. Given how successful this side has been (I think this was the U18s first defeat of the season?), he has already had a massive impact and with 2 more years at the club, hopefully he can continue to be such a positive influence on the lives of the Cov youngsters coming through.
Tom Kessell was there, too, in a coaching role and he looked to be very involved too, although more so with the backs obviously. Russ Stewart was also in attendance.
Cov dominated for much of the first half but, even so, BMC scored two converted tries, having probably spent less than two minutes in total in the Cov half up to the time the second try was scored. That try, coming straight from a Cov restart, was a great individual effort from some 60m out, their 13 slicing through the Coventry defence with no one able to lay a hand on him.
Coventry’s line out was particularly effective, the home side scoring 2 first half tries through catch and drives which put them well in contention leading up to half time at just 12-14 down. It even got a bit feisty with both packs involved in a bit of pushing and shoving.
The second half saw Cov having to soak up a lot more pressure than in the first 40 and it was no surprise that BMC extended their lead. Whilst the changes from the bench seemed to help BMC, Cov lost a little fluency and we began to tire, but in the final few minutes Coventry began to gain some territory and after camping themselves on the Tigers line, they eventually went over. The subsequent conversion made for an interesting finish at 17-19.
But that’s how it ended – on balance a fair result given BMC’s stronger showing in the 2nd half.
I haven’t yet put names to faces so it’s hard to comment on individual performances but one of the Cov youngsters in particular stood out for me – fly half, Joe Brock.
As you can see from the photo above, physically he’s a big lad, big enough to look at home somewhere in the back 5 of the pack, in fact. He looks as if he’s still got some growing to do, too, but he has a fantastic left foot on him, kicking it distances that would shame some in the first team squad. He seems to have little back lift but appears able to generate a fantastic amount of power, and is accurate with it.
And his is not just a kicking game either – he certainly was keen to get his backs moving and looked comfortable with ball in hand, with a range of passes on display. A couple of cross kicks when Cov had the advantage almost paid off, suggesting he’s not short on vision either. It might just be one of those one-off performances that catches the eye, but he certainly looked like a lad with a future. That said, he was only on the pitch for the first 40 minutes, so it might be that I’m getting a little too excited on the basis of him having played just one half of one game. He did impress though.
There was a decent crowd there on the night – perhaps 140-150 (although I’m not great a judging numbers). There were certainly enough there to generate a decent atmosphere and a fair amount of noise, too. I know the club appear happy with the 503 against the Army the following day, so with limited promotion I guess they must have been ecstatic with Friday’s turnout…
(Just as an aside, it was good to see the club also being used to host a function on the Friday evening, too. The Millerchip Room was heaving with guests all suited and booted, and that was just the ladies. Almost every time I attend the club on an evening there something happening outside of rugby/sport – someone is working very hard on the banqueting/conferencing side, for sure).
Many thanks to everyone who took part in the Man of the Match poll for the game against The Army on Saturday.
With such a small crowd, the numbers taking part in the poll were obviously reduced, but that didn’t prevent a good number from voting.
The results of this week’s poll then are as follows:
Player % of vote
Kailus Hutchinson 32
Dan Lewis 16
Louis Brown 15
Jack Ram 11
Congratulations, Kailus Hutchinson. He was also voted the Sponsors’ Man of the Match Award, so he cleary impressed on the night.
Hutchinson had enjoyed a really successful 2017/18 season, breaking into the first team and being selected for the England Counties U20 side to tour Georgia in the summer. 18/19 saw him out for much, if not all, of the season through injury and for the last few months he has been playing his rugby at Cambridge, appearing 6 times for the National One outfit in all.
He was the forgotten man for some supporters, myself included, and with Scott Russell and Alex Woolford probably above him in the pecking order, even before considering the likes of Oram, Dacres and Voss, it looked a very difficult journey back for him. Still in the Development Squad as of now, it might be that the coaches will be looking to him to make the next step up now he is back to full fitness.
Hutchison arrived a Cov unannounced according to RW, insisting that he could be better than any of the locks currently at Cov a that time, including the likes of Dacres, Jubb and Conquest.
So taken with his bravado and self-belief, JS and RW agreed to take him on for a trial.
Of such stuff are legends made.
I guess he’ll be back at Cambridge at the weekend, but his display last Saturday against The Army couldn’t have come at a better time – a nudge to the coaches when contract discussions must be in full flow.
I can’t believe Eddie and the Hot Rods have yet to appear in the blog.
Best known for ‘Do Anything You Wanna Do’ they were another of the great London/SE pub rock bands of the late 70s/early 80s, together with the likes of Rockpile, Dr Feelgood, Brinsley Schwartz and so on.
The were just plain The Rods when the single was released, and Eddie was no more than a cardboard cut out that went out on stage with the band when they performed for a couple of years…
Great song chosen because…
…it’s a great song. 🙂 If you want something to get you upbeat and energised, this has to be up there with the best.
…perhaps also because at just 18 or so, the Cov youngsters have the world at their feet and should be encouraged to do anything they want to do…
Another classic video too – Masters is a bit Jagger-esque?