29th Jun, 2022

Rowland Winter admits Coventry were beaten by the better side at leaders Hartpury College

RUGBY UNION: LEAGUE leaders Hartpury College proved too strong for Coventry on Saturday as Rowland Winter conceded that his side were ‘well beaten by a better side’ following a 50-19 defeat.

In what was perhaps Coventry’s toughest test this season, the visitors were very much still in contention at half-time with Winter’s side tailing by just one point at 13-12 thanks to four well converted penalty kicks by Will Maisey.

But two yellow cards to Tom Poole and Ben Vellacott provided the home side with a chance to pull away and they did just that by scoring four tries in the space of 12 minutes to run out clear winners.

“I was really happy with our first half, we rattled them a little bit and if we’d taken our chances it could have been a different story and we could have run them a bit closer,” said Winter.

“In the second half the yellow cars killed us. We were matching at time and competing 15 on 15, but 13 on 15 was too much.

“But credit where it’s due, Hartpury are a strong side, they’re well resourced, and they’re top of the table and 19 from 19 for a reason.

“It’s something for us to learn from, they’ve set the benchmark now for where we want to be in the next couple of years and that’s a good lesson for us.

“It’s a setback which we’ll learn from, but it’s not a disaster. Were back at home next week against Esher, we owe them one from down there, and we want to get another run going starting from there.”

Jacob Perry and Maisey traded early penalties before Hartpury scored the opening try of the match when Mat Gilbert powered his way over the line and Perry converted for 10-3.

Three consecutive penalties edged Coventry back to within one point with 34 minutes played but the hosts were given a helping hand when scrum-half Vellacott was yellow carded for a knock on and home skipper Rhys Oakley crossed for a converted try and a 20-12 lead.

Another Perry penalty extended Hartpury’s lead shortly after the re-start and four quick tries killed off any likely Coventry challenge with Luke Eves scoring twice while Levi Davis and Joe Dancer also got in on the act to make it 45-12.

Despite being losing Cliffie Hodgson due to injury, Coventry conceded just one more try with 15 men when a seventh Hartpury touchdown came courtesy of the league’s highest scoring try scorer Jonas Micalcius, but this time Perry missed the conversion.

With five minutes remaining Coventry finished the match on a positive note with full-back Stokes breaking away for his fifth try of the season, which Maisey converted beautifully for the final score of the match.

This weekend Coventry will look to get back to winning ways when they host Esher at the Butts Park Arena.

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