RUGBY UNION - Coventry head coach Rae 'gutted' following Quins draw - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Coventry head coach Rae 'gutted' following Quins draw

Coventry Editorial 20th Sep, 2023 Updated: 20th Sep, 2023   0

COVENTRY Rugby head coach Alex Rae felt his side should have beaten Harlequins after surrendering a 14-point lead in their second Premiership Rugby Cup outing.

After seeing off Saracens seven days earlier, Cov built a 7-21 advantage at the Stoop only for the hosts to claim a share of the spoils with two late converted scores.

However, a win and a draw from two outings against sides that finished last season as English champions and just outside the play-offs respectively represents a strong start to the season from Rae’s men.

Rae said: “Straight after the game we were all feeling pretty gutted as we’re an ambitious group and it felt like a game we should have won.

“But I am incredibly proud of the effort put in by all the boys – it was a real 23-man squad effort.

“Quins put a fairly strong team out, especially up front, and the belief this is building into our lads is really important.

“We know Saracens and Harlequins haven’t put out full-blown Premiership line-ups but they were not a million miles off and this competition is giving us confidence that we are a good team who can compete.”

Coventry travel to Championship rivals Hartpury this weekend and Rae praised his team for their gritty defensive effort during a closing few minutes which saw Quins pile on the pressure in their last outing.

Rae added: “Although we were ahead at half-time, I felt we didn’t play especially well in the first half.

“We left a few scores out there and our lineout was poor but this team is so dogged that we were able to hang in there.

“Our commitment and togetherness really shone through in defence. James Scaysbrook puts in loads of work with the boys and our spirit really showed in the later stages when Quins were pressing hard.

“We ended up having to put a few last-ditch tackles in when they were on the front foot at the end but that was the only period of the game when they managed to build some momentum.

“We are a bit disappointed but we have to look forward to next Saturday and what will be an incredibly tough game at Hartpury who had a good win over Nottingham on Friday night.

“We came unstuck there last year and we have to be right mentally as they will be ready for us if we’re not.”

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