28th Jun, 2022

Rowland Winter sees signs of progression as inconsistent Coventry make hard work of Hull Ionians

RUGBY UNION: A MATCH full of twists and turns saw Coventry defeat Hull Ionians 50-38 in what Rowland Winter feels was a true representation of their season in National League One.

A whirlwind start saw Coventry storm into a 28-3 lead after 12 breathless minutes with scrum half Pete Whites crossing first and Tom Howe, White again and Heath Stevens all got on the scoresheet.

But the visitors closed the gap to just four points at half-time and after the break they went 28-31 in front to complete a quite remarkable turnaround at the Butts Park Arena.

Winter made a number of changes in personnel which soon led to a fifth try for Coventry with replacement Jimmy Litchfield crossing and Stevens scored his second soon after to give Coventry breathing space at 40-31.

White completed his hat-trick and although the visitors scored again late on, Winter’s side had the final say when Will Maisey, who landed five conversions, slotted home a penalty with the final kick of the game.

“Everything about the day, the performance and result, epitomises Coventry Rugby at the moment,” said Winter.

“We have the ability to have a bonus point wrapped up in 11 minutes but we take our foot off the gas, Hull come back into it as we knew they would and we look like we’re going to throw it away. Then we did deep, come back, and take our foot off the gas again.

“The ups and downs reflect what our season has been about so far. There’s the clear bits of quality we have got and clear bits of disastrous play that we don’t want and need to iron out before next season.

“Now we’ve got the foundations in place in terms of our squad and everything we’re doing around the pitch, experiences like these help us learn and we are slowly getting better.

“It’s very much two steps forward and one step back, but Saturday was about getting a win to start with, we got plenty of tries and we got the bonus point.”

Coventry now have a week off to prepare for a long trip to relegation-threatened Blaydon on March 4, but Winter is already looking ahead to next season.

He added: “We need a bit more experience on top of the young squad we have got, so there will definitely be a few more additions coming in to the squad.

“But it’s more about retention and making sure we reap the reward of the investment we’ve put into this group of young players.

“With seven or eight players coming in who are experienced at the higher level, we can add to what we’ve done this season – it’s not a rebuilding, it’s development and kicking on from where we’ve got to now, and that means retention to start with.”

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