COVENTRY Rugby moved into seventh after a dramatic late win over Cornish Pirates, with Tony Fenner’s conversion in the 79th minute gifting an 18-17 win at the death.
The result brought a fifth win of the season for Coventry and sits them on 28 points for the season after Saturday’s comeback.
Pirates fly-half Javier Alvarez kicked an early penalty conversion, but Dan Faleafa set up a perfect opportunity to level the scores when bringing the ball forward into dangerous territory, drawing the foul, and allowing Will Maisey to fire between the posts from 35 metres out.
Maisey then charged forwards and strode past Alvarez, battling his way through to the Cornish try-line, only to be prevented from touching down thanks to some last-ditch defence from the visitors.
A line-out infringement left Maisey with a penalty to put the hosts ahead, which he did with aplomb, but Alvarez would have a bearing on events by kicking a penalty for the Pirates after Coventry had taken out one of his team-mates in the next phase of play.
Callum Patterson was denied for the visitors when Maisey came to the rescue to pick up on a loose pass and took Coventry to safety.
With half-time looming, the Pirates pushed ahead with a scrum penalty from Alvarez, before Fiji hooker Josh Matavesi put in the hard yards to sweep the ball to Kyle Moyle who went over the try-line for the first try of the afternoon.
An eight-point deficit at the break was extended by Alvarez’s 40-metre penalty after Coventry were penalised in their own defensive territory.
A 40-metre run from David Halaifonua promised to cut the deficit for the hosts, but a crunching tackle on Pete White after receiving the ball broke down any Coventry hopes.
That attack would only serve to prompt further charges into Cornish’s 22, bolstered by a sin-bin for Pirates flanker Josh Caulfield.
Scott Tolmie took immediate advantage by forcing over from a line-out, his fourth try of the season.
A conversion was missed, as were further opportunities to take advantage of the Pirates man-disadvantage – the visitors holding firm with a six-point lead with five minutes left on the clock.
Coventry would win a number of lineout’s and maul penalties though, which would edge them closer to the away 22’s try-line.
Another sin bin for Cornish would prove fatal, as Brett Beukeboom was forced to watch on for the remaining moments of the game – seeing his side crumble through Tolmie’s second try of the game, followed by Fenner’s conversion to complete a stunning comeback.
Coventry will look to follow up with another victory this weekend when they go to Goldington Road to face the Bedford Blues – who sit in fourth, on Saturday (3pm).