By Tom Little.
September 19 2012
Saturday 22nd September sees the National League 1 fixture between Coventry Rugby and Loughborough Students here at home at the Butts Park Arena, kick off 3pm. Coventry will be buoyant after their comprehensive first ever league win over Cambridge, indeed their first win of the season, whilst newcomers Loughborough Students will be looking to get their first ever National League 1 win under their belt. A game that Coventry Rugby cannot take for granted to maintain their momentum and promise shown in their last two games.
Loughborough Students can trace their foundation back to 1919 when Loughborough College started playing rugby. The 1930’s saw rugby become the dominant sport, and the 50’s started to produce key players such as former England captains Eric Evans and Jeff Butterfield. Under John Robins between 1962-68 they won every UAU title apart from 1965.With the merger of the Loughborough Colleges in 1976/7 the club became Loughborough Students Rugby Club.
In 1996 the club decided to join the RFU league structure, with their first full time Director of Rugby appointed in 1998.They have continued to progress through the leagues reaching their highest league position this season following promotion to National League 1 after last season’s promotion as champions of National League 2 North.
This march of the students through the league’s has not been without controversy, with a recent meeting of the NCA discussing even if informally whether subsidised facilities and/ or government money should be utilised for new facilities, such funding which is not available to the rest of the National Leagues.
Under Head Coach Dave Morris, formerly at Blackheath, LS have found life in National League 1 difficult, already losing at home to Blackheath and Esher, and a narrow away loss at Cambridge. This has left the Students in bottom but one place on 1 point having conceded 119 points and scoring 60.
Technically now an open club LS will still rely predominantly on using their student base for players, which does it make it difficult for continuity. Key players to leave after last season include Ollie Robinson to Moseley, Will Simpson to Doncaster, and Sam Catz to Rosslyn Park.
Players newly recruited include Lyr Griffiths lock from Nuneaton, Jack Collister another lock from Caldy, No 8 Joe Burton from Wasps, and a recent signing on loan from Leicester prop forward Keiran Brooks.
Loughborough Students play a fluid and offloading game relying on the fitness of their players especially on the counter attack, very dangerous in broken play and they often employ a scramble defence. If there is a weakness it is the inexperience in their forwards with the pack so far finding it difficult to impose themselves on their opponents.
Key players that help LS in their style of play are winger Craig Dowsett and try scoring full back Craig Holland.
Coventry Rugby have never met Loughborough Students in the league structure, but have played each other in the past, in season 1990/1 Coventry won 47-25 at home, and in season 1992/3 won away 8-24.
A game that Coventry Rugby cannot take for granted as they need to build on their last two much improved performances. Another game that Coventry need to be wary of especially with counter attacks, with another test of their improving defensive structure. A bonus point win for Coventry could even propel them into the top half of the table for the first time this season.
A key game for both sides for different reasons and it is hoped that a large Coventry crowd will be at the Butts Park Arena to support their team in the Saturday 3pm kick off.
Both sides will be announced as soon as available on the website.
Coventry Rugby press office
19th September 2012
|19 Sep, 2012 19:59||Report|
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