COVENTRY’s director of rugby Rowland Winter is not reverting to excuses after seeing his team fall to a 34-14 defeat at Esher following a lengthy traffic delay.
Saturday’s kick-off was put back 30 minutes as the Coventry team bus was delayed on the way down to London but Winter insists their preparations did not have much bearing on the result.
“The late arrival of the bus and the lack of time in the warm-up is not something we can offer as an excuse, and we can’t use the fact that we are a new group starting with new players,” he said.
“That doesn’t work – we’ve come to Esher, and we’ve been outplayed and outperformed. We’ve provided opportunities on a plate to them, they’ve taken them, and when we’ve gone down their end and created space and opportunities ourselves, we simply haven’t taken the chances.”
It has all started positively for the visitors who took an 8-0 lead with just two minutes after Rhodri Adamson slotted home a 22-metre penalty and young full-back James Stokes broke through the home defence for an excellent unconverted try.
But that was as good as it got for Coventry who allowed Esher to come into the game and the hosts benefitted from sin bin of skipper Eoghan Grace.
On their first visit into the Coventry 22, Tom James was able to cross and debutant fly-half scored the conversion to cut the deficit to one point.
Rhodri Adamson slotted a Coventry penalty for 11-7 on 23 minutes but five minutes later the hosts went ahead when Peter Synnott was awarded the touchdown.
Both Adamson and Lang traded penalties to leave Esher just three points ahead with everything to play for in the second half.
After the break it was Esher’s turn to enjoy a positive start by adding a further 17 points without any response thanks to tries from Tom Cheeseman and Tom Brown, both of which were converted by Lang.
The visitors did look for a way back into the match with Rob Knox and Tom Wheatcroft coming close to a breakthrough but it was home full-back Lloyd Davies who landed the final points of the match with a successful penalty late on.
Coventry now have back-to-back home games against Fylde and Plymouth Albion and boss Winter will be hoping to secure a minimum of eight points
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to step up now.” he added. “We’ll be looking for a positive reaction at home to Fylde next weekend.
“We have a strong and talented group of players, they work hard during the week and are focused on performing well. They have demonstrated that they can play well, but have not demonstrated consistency.
“We will work together on that this week, with a focus on returning to the basics of our game.
“We’ve put in strong performances at home and at Moseley, we’ve shown what we can do, but it’s about bringing that out week after week and getting consistency into our performance.
“After a poor performance we’ve responded well back at home, and we’ll be looking for another strong reaction next Saturday against Fylde. There’s a lot of hard work to do this week.”