RUGBY UNION - Coventry Rugby go top after New Year's Day win at Bedford - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Coventry Rugby go top after New Year's Day win at Bedford

Coventry Editorial 3rd Jan, 2024 Updated: 3rd Jan, 2024   0

JORDON Poole crossed twice while Pat Pellegrini’s impressive 19-point haul helped Coventry Rugby move top of the table with a 34-19 bonus point win at Bedford Blues on New Year’s Day.

Coventry ran in four first-half tries as Pellegrini and Ryan Hutler touched down in the opening 20 minutes before captain Poole went over twice at Goldington Road.

The result means Coventry lead the Championship table by a single point ahead of Ealing Trailfinders who have two games in-hand.

It is the first time Coventry have topped the table since exiting English rugby’s top flight back in 1988.

Alex Rae’s side scored the game’s first try after just three minutes when Pellegrini jinked his way to the line from close range before converting his own score after excellent work from Tiki Nayalo and Poole.

However, Bedford responded with a try of their own on 11 minutes as Cameron King powered over the line from a driving maul following a lineout.

Coventry scored their second try on 20 minutes when former Bedford man Hutler ghosted through a gap and Pellegrini kicked the extras.

And the visitors stretched their lead six minutes later as skipper Poole broke from a driving maul before touching down with Pellegrini again kicking the conversion.

Bedford scored a carbon copy of their first try on 32 minutes with King again finishing from a driving lineout while former Cov favourite Will Maisey added the extras.

However, Coventry scored their bonus point try on the stroke of half time, after Bedford lost scrum half Alex Day to the sin bin, as Poole crossed for his second of the game and Pellegrini kicked the conversion.

The home side piled on the pressure after the break as Cov lost Obi Nkwocha to a yellow card before Poole joined him in the sin bin for collapsing a maul with Bedford awarded a penalty try.

Cov survived a seven-minute 15-on-13 period before Pellegrini kicked two penalties to take the game out of Bedford’s reach and send Rae’s men top.

Coventry are next in action away at London Scottish on Saturday, January 20 with kick-off at 3pm at Richmond Athletic Ground.

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