COVENTRY Rugby defence coach Anthony Allen believes the GreeneKing IPA Championship side will need to match both their defensive and attacking efforts if they are to have a successful season.
Rowland Winter’s side accumulated close to 500 points last term, including seven try-scoring bonus points, but conceded 637 points in total on the way to their eighth-placed finish.
Allen believes the defensive side of Coventry’s game can clearly be improved and identified this area as the main pitfall between challenging for promotion and languishing in mid-table.
“We want to win games and if that means we have to defend and win 9-6, or if we win by 20 points you still have to have a base level throughout our game,” he said.
“We are starting to build nicely and with the long pre-season we have the chance to repeat things, make them clear and make sure everyone understands what we’re trying to achieve with and without the ball.”
The defensive coach says patience when trying to win back possession will be a key factor in improving the solidity of Coventry’s defence.
“It’s about pressure – no-one is just going to give us the ball,” said Allen.
“So we’ve been telling the lads we need to get the ball back as quickly as we can and to work together.
“We can’t be on our own, we have to do things together for multiple phases to win the ball back.
“If you don’t then the other team can hold it for 20 phases.”
As for the aims of the club for the 2019/20 season, Allen believes Coventry can turn into a side near the top of the table if they can harness a winning mentality.
“It’s about where the club is striving to get to and the ambition and this club wants to get to the top,” he said.
“So we have to build on having the right attitude, the right mentality, because if we don’t train like that Monday to Friday then we won’t have it in that two-hour window when we’re playing at the weekend, regardless of where we’re playing.
“There’s the base level of a game we have to get right for the extra fitness and the extra skill work we’re doing now to come through.”
Meanwhile, the club are on the hunt players, after announcing trial dates for the club’s under-18 academy for the 2019/20 season.
Applications are now open for the two dates – Monday, August 12 and Monday, August 19 – held at Old Leamingtonians RFC between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.
Leading the successful applicants will be the under-18 head coach Phil Boulton and new academy manager Ross Stewart, who are determined to continue Coventry’s history of developing outstanding talents.
Archie Strath is one of the latest prospects to have risen to academy level at the club following his release from Northampton Saints and speaks highly of the youth set-up at Coventry.
“I’d lost a bit of motivation when I left Saints,” said Strath.
“But when I got the call from Coventry, it inspired me to want to get back going and drive on to see what I could do.
“The quality of the coaching is right up there with the best I’ve had, the games are very competitive and we play teams both from the Championship and Premiership.”
Players applying for a trial date must meet certain criteria, such as standing out at a club or school team, or having previously represented a county or higher in the past two seasons.