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Learning Curve


By Mark Forster
October 14 2019

COVENTRY Rugby's Twitter feed talked of the blue and whites being victim of a 'smash and grab raid' by Jersey Reds in the first league fixture of the new Championship campaign.

Now I wasn't present in the wind and rain swept Channel Islands, but I was listening to BBC Radio Jersey's commentary. The caveat there is that I cannot have as good as grasp on events as those that were there.

Yet while it hurt that Cov couldn't get the win, the facts alone suggest it was not a smash and grab raid.

Not with four tries to nil against Cov.

Unless we're talking four smash and grabs.

The desperation in the partisan commentary pair on Radio Jersey oozed through the laptop for much of the game, but the Reds found a way to win. Starved of possession for long periods of time, they found a way to get over the whitewash. They found a way to shut Cov out.

This was a team who had two players sent to the sin-bin. For a few minutes their absences overlapped.

Cov playing 14 men for almost 20 minutes, a quarter of the game. This was a team who had discipline problems, leaking penalties at times.

This was a game Cov should have won – and comfortably.

jersey131019_002.jpg

Last year, we heard Rowland Winter, Cov's Director of Rugby, and his coaching team, talk of taking positives out of the game. And there always are.

Sometimes, it's just about taking the points.

Correct me if I'm wrong, Coventry were marched back by the referee twice for backchat.

Letting Jersey off the hook, putting the Reds on the front foot and denying us the ground we'd worked hard to win.

A simple 'no no' in my book. I never played rugby at this level, but a few tiers lower, and the on-field leaders would keep the boys in order. We're all entitled to make a mistake. But once is more than enough. Twice?

jersey131019_003.jpg

I haven't been a fan of the way Championship referees have officiated at scrum time and I don't know whether Cov were hard done to in the first exchanges packing down at the set piece. But if the ref doesn't like something – even if he is wrong – don't do it again. Find another way. We are lucky enough to have some great forwards at Cov and they must have so many different options at their disposal. So to be penalised so many times at the scrum in the first half was difficult to comprehend.

Let me crystal clear, as a Cov fan it hurts when my team loses. When we should have walked it, that hurt is magnified. I had to switch off commentary on 81 minutes because I felt physically sick. Sport does that to you. Club loyalty does that to you.

And if we didn't have such a great and talented group of players, it wouldn't be so bad.

My rose-tinted vision of Cov tells me that we should win every game. If these players don't know, they are heroes. They are the best we've had by far in the Butts Park Arena – in my humble opinion.

We're no longer stuck with the best we can get, but getting the best.

A few might be past their best age-wise, but would still be first choice in any of the other Championship teams. A number would be valuable additions to Premiership squads and several are good enough to thrive at the top tier. From my rugby watching at least.

That was a game we let get away.

Jersey are no pushovers, especially on their own turf, but something didn't go right on the pitch for Cov.

Last season, Cov were there or thereabouts on a number of occasions, but their lack of nous or belief prevented them getting the win – especially on the road.

The BPA faithful may be like the 16th man to Cov, we may have a travelling faithful other teams are rightly jealous of, but this team doesn't need that. It's more than good enough.

Jersey will know they got out of jail several times during that game. For Winter and his talented coaching team of Nick Walshe, Louis Deacon and now Anthony Allen, it will be not so much a case of taking the positives away but working out why Cov choke at key times.

As those of a certain vintage may remember, Ol' Big 'Ed, Brian Clough, worked wonders with Derby County, taking the team from Division Two also-rans to champions and then First Division title winners and European Cup semi-finalists in five years.

He and Peter Taylor formed a deadly duo in getting the best out of players. Alone, Cloughie fell foul of a disastrous month and a half at Elland Road, but then found himself in charge of Nottingham Forest, a side struggling to shine in the Second Division.

When Taylor rejoined him a season later, he told Clough Forest had done well to achieve eighth place after his pal's second campaign.

Together, they took a team of journeymen and made them kings of Europe.

Winter, Walshe and Deacon have had a similar galvanising effect on Coventry Rugby, energised the support based and have a team of players ready to take on the best and win.

If that belief can be seen in the players, maybe we're a title and one season away from becoming kings of Europe.

 

Coventry: Jennings - 5 Penalties

Official Cov Report: Here

Pictures: Nick Meredith

 

 

 

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Learning Curve
Discussion started by Unofficial Coventry Rugby (IP Logged), 14/10/2019 09:31
Unofficial Coventry Rugby
Unofficial Coventry Rugby
14/10/2019 09:31
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:10:19:18:51:21 by AdminBTCov.

Sam Skennel
Egg Timer
14/10/2019 09:50
Quote:
I don't know whether Cov were hard done to in the first exchanges packing down at the set piece. But if the ref doesn't like something – even if he is wrong – don't do it again. Find another way.

That's fine if one makes the basic assumption that the referee is getting it right and "we" are transgressing, but my feeling is that many referees have no view of what is truly happening at the scrum and ergo don't get it right.

We might actually not be doing anything "wrong" and the collapse is being caused by the opposition which is not being identified by the referee. In that case, we'll always be seen as causing the issue until such time as the referee either has an epiphany or we work out a way of negating the effect of the real transgressor.

I'm not saying for a moment that our referee at the weekend didn't have a wonderful game, of course. That would just be wrong and not in the spirit of the game.

However, I do remember being asked by a prop if I would send him off for saying something particularly unacceptable, and the answer was yes. His reply was to ask if I'd send him off for thinking it. The answer was no, of course. So he just said "in that case, I think you're a **** ref"



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:10:14:09:51:22 by Egg Timer.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
14/10/2019 10:38
And did you?

Sam Skennel
Egg Timer
14/10/2019 11:19
Did I what? Send him off? No - I bought him a beer afterwards so he could educate me on some of the dark arts of the front row and how he'd done what he wanted to do.

I learned loads.

He also learned he'd made a mistake when I was there to referee his game again two weeks later.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
14/10/2019 11:32
That was the answer I was hoping for.
If only there was more dialogue eh? winking smiley

MESSAGES->author
OldNick
14/10/2019 16:01
Quote:
Egg Timer
Quote:
I don't know whether Cov were hard done to in the first exchanges packing down at the set piece. But if the ref doesn't like something – even if he is wrong – don't do it again. Find another way.

That's fine if one makes the basic assumption that the referee is getting it right and "we" are transgressing, but my feeling is that many referees have no view of what is truly happening at the scrum and ergo don't get it right.

A specific repeated problem at the scrum on Saturday appeared to be one of these cases. The scrum set, and just before the hall goes in one side takes a step back. The scrum collapses, and the referee penalises the side that toppled over forwards for ‘going early’.

What is the side that stepped back going to do at the next scrum. You’ve guessed it, they gain another penalty, and the prop dropped in makes it clear he’s not happy. Ten yards back.’

Next scrum, the side that’s been penalised might as well not engage. Sue’s mind has been made up. It’s a penalty or a lost scrum before they’ve even set.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:10:14:16:01:57 by OldNick.

Sam Skennel
Egg Timer
15/10/2019 08:50
Sue??

It's called a soft hit, and funnily enough, that's exactly what happened to me. I learned a big lesson that day. So did the prop lol



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:10:15:08:51:16 by Egg Timer.

MESSAGES->author
AdminBTCov
15/10/2019 14:38
Quote:
Egg Timer
Sue??
The ref's weekend name.

MESSAGES->author
OldNick
15/10/2019 15:30
Quote:
AdminBTCov
Quote:
Egg Timer
Sue??
The ref's weekend name.
Autocorrect must have known more about ‘Sir’ than I do!

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