RUGBY UNION - Coventry name team for Leicester Lions friendly - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Coventry name team for Leicester Lions friendly

Coventry Editorial 18th Aug, 2023   0

COVENTRY Rugby boss Alex Rae has given debuts to a number of summer signings in tomorrow’s pre-season friendly against Leicester Lions.

The blue-and-whites are hoping to give game time to most of their squad during a contest which will be played over 80 minutes with the hosts fielding almost entirely different line-ups for each half.

Former England international flanker Matt Kvesic makes his first Cov start during the opening 40 minutes where he is part of a pack that includes ex-Gloucester number 8 Jack Bartlett plus recent front five signings Elliot Chilvers and Rhys Anstey.

Behind the scrum Cov begin their season with a number of last season’s backline regulars including centres Lucas Titherington and Will Wand while the pacy Jimmy Martin wears the number 11 shirt.

Hooker Jordon Poole will skipper the starting side before passing the armband to prop Toby Trinder after the break.

Trinder is in the front row with tight head Elliot Salt while former Leicester academy back-rower Chester Owen wears the number six shirt on his Cov debut.

A pacy back three features ex-Jersey speedster Ryan Hutler on the right wing while Will Rigg and Ollie Betteridge combine in midfield.

Rae said: “There’s only so much training you want to do and we’re all really excited to get back playing in front of the Cov fans.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the new lads pull on a Cov shirt for the first time as that’s always a special moment.

“We have almost everyone involved other than Will Chudley who is fit but will play next week against Moseley while Pat Pellegrini and Paddy Ryan are not back from Tonga and the USA yet.

“That means we’re just missing Obinna Nkwocha who has a minor hamstring strain, while Will Biggs is about four weeks from fitness with an ankle injury and Harry Seward has a longer-term concussion.

“Leicester Lions have done really well to work their way through the leagues to National One and they’ll give us just the kind of test we’re looking for at this time of year.”

The visitors arrive at the Butts off the back of a successful 2022/23 campaign which saw them promoted to the National One league as the inaugural winners of National Two West division.

In a remarkable season Gareth Collins’ team lost only once and won their last 21 matches consecutively to finish with 122 points from a possible 130.

Their 26-strong squad includes former Cov fly half Dan Lewis although last season’s leading National Two West try-scorer Devon Constant and prolific kicker Ben Young are both missing.

Team line-ups

Coventry first half team: Wilson; Opoku, Wand, Titherington, Martin; Mitchell, Ogden; Chilvers, Poole ©, Andrews; Anstey, Smith; Stone, Kvesic, Bartlett.

Coventry second half team: James; Hutler, Rigg, Betteridge, Martin/Opoku (shared); Mannion, Lane; Trinder ©, Ma’asi, Salt; Anstey/Smith (shared), Tyas; Owen, Ball, Nayalo.

Leicester Lions: Patrick; Sterland, Veebel, Bouchier, Satala; Lewis, Stubbs; Williams ©, Taylor, Dawson; Godefroy, Ward; Koroiyadi, Murdoch; Cairns. Replacements: Rudkin, Thompson, Roberts, Coulson, Johnson, Stoker, McCarthy, Martin, Davies, Crowley, Brooks.

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