8th Apr, 2020

'Ahead of schedule' Coventry set for promotion push, starting this weekend

RUGBY UNION: DIRECTOR of Rugby Rowland Winter says Coventry Rugby are ‘ahead of schedule’ as they push for promotion from the National League Division One.

Winter’s men have won all 15 games so far this season and sit 13 points clear at the top of the table.

Though Coventry have exceeded all of Winter’s expectations so far, the boss warned of complacency and said there’s still work to be done as they prepare for a clash against Old Albanian at the Butts Park Arena on Saturday.

Winter said: “At the beginning of the season we set our target to try to focus month by month in terms of our fixture list and take a week by week approach.

“We’d have bitten your hand off for that at the start of the year to be in this position.

“We wanted to be in the mix at Christmas, we wanted to be within touching distance of the top, so to be at the top and a bit clear is definitely a bonus.

“We’re not getting too carried away with anything though, we’ve got some really tough fixtures in the second half of the year.

“But performance-wise we are where I want us to be and league-wise, I’m delighted.”

The second half of the season will see Coventry travel away to some of the league’s big names, including Plymouth, Blackheath, Ampthill and Darlington.

Winter said: “We must avoid complacency and maintain the sort of consistent performance-levels we’ve had.

“You never know, there are always issues just around the corner.

“So we will stick to our original approach, going week by week and month by month.

“I’m sure over the next 15 games there will be some other players getting injuries and we’ll have to adapt again.

“That’s probably the true strength of the squad – we’ve got depth, we’ve got quality, and we’ve also got the ability to use connections to bring players in or move players out of position and still play well.

“The coaching team as a whole has done a lot of work in the last 18 months to build bridges and strengthen relationships so that when we need to call a friend we’ve got people there to support us.”

Looking ahead long term, Winter revealed he’s already planning for next season.

“We’re planning for next season and we’re hoping that’s going to be in the Championship,” said Winter.

“There’s an element of difficulty in recruiting and retaining players when you don’t know what league you’re going to be in.

“At the moment we have about 18 players signed on for next season, at least four or five more will be retained in the next month, and we are down the line with five or six more new recruits who will add to our squad and bring a different level of quality.”

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