RUGBY UNION - Coventry Rugby change three for Friday night game against Cambridge - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Coventry Rugby change three for Friday night game against Cambridge

Coventry Editorial 5th Apr, 2024 Updated: 5th Apr, 2024   0

COVENTRY Rugby have made three changes to their starting line-up that beat Hartpury for tonight’s round 16 Championship clash with Cambridge (Butts Park Arena, 8pm), writes Paul Smith.

And as a result head coach Alex Rae has handed a number of younger members of his squad the chance to impress under the Butts Park Arena floodlights.

The sole pack change sees former Cardiff Met University tight head prop Eliot Salt given the nod to stand in for Adam Nicol who rests a tight hamstring.

Toby Venner earns a first start at scrum half following recovery from injury with Will Chudley rotated to the bench.

And local product Evan Mitchell makes his sixth start of the season at full back with Tobi Wilson also named among the replacements.

Plenty of experience remains among the pack where in-form skipper Jordon Poole and Toby Trinder join Salt in the front row while James Tyas, Matt Kvesic and Tiki Nayalo are all named in the back five.

Behind the scrum, Tom Wheatcroft and Will Wand continue their rapidly-developing partnership in midfield with the latter joining winger Jimmy Martin in facing the club for whom they featured prominently prior to joining Cov.

On the bench lock Rhys Anstey has recovered from a minor back injury to take the place of Jack Bartlett who suffered ankle ligament damage soon after arriving on the pitch at Hartpury.

Pacy winger David Opoku, impressive back-rower Chester Owen, Fijian prospect Vili Nairau and fit-again prop Ollie Andrews are all named among a set of replacements where the accent is also firmly on youth.

Rae is expecting the visitors to offer a stern test in front of a crowd which he hopes will be boosted by supporters of the Sky Blues and local rugby clubs prior to their Saturday games.

Rae said: “Cambridge at home on Friday night will be challenging as they’re finding their feet in the Championship.

“They bring a big set-piece and an exciting brand of attacking rugby so it should be a great night.

“We’re not under-estimating them at all based on their league position.

“They will come to the Butts and try to impose their game on us but hopefully we can put everything we’ve been working on this week into practice and deliver a good performance for the supporters.”

Coventry’s line-up

Coventry: Mitchell; Hutler, Wand, Rigg, Martin; Pellegrini, Venner; Trinder, Poole, Salt; Tyas, Nkwocha; Ball, Kvesic, Nayalo.

Replacements: Ma’asi, Nairau, Andrews, Anstey, Owen, Chudley, Wilson, Opoku.

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