RUGBY UNION - Rae insists Coventry Rugby will take 'good learnings' from Ealing defeat - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Rae insists Coventry Rugby will take 'good learnings' from Ealing defeat

Coventry Editorial 28th Nov, 2023   0

ALEX Rae believes his Coventry Rugby side will take ‘good learnings’ from their valiant defeat away at league leaders Ealing Trailfinders.

Coventry suffered a 31-13 defeat in the capital despite leading at the break but remained competitive until the final whistle as Will Rigg crossed for a late try.

Despite the defeat, Rae remains confident Coventry will be back to their best against Hartpury University this weekend.

Rae said: “We never have to question the effort from our group and even at the end when Will Rigg scored everyone was still giving their all and putting bodies on the line.

“We’re a young squad and there will be some really good learnings come out of that game which we have to make sure we harness.

“We’re bound to have some sore bodies and we’ll need to look after them but then it’s all about Hartpury at home next Saturday.

“They’ll probably be licking their lips after seeing our result but I’m confident we’ll get back in the saddle by then.”

Coventry were without four props and two hookers through injury for the trip to Ealing with four of the club’s front-rowers loan players as the home side dominated at the scrum.

Ealing won seven set-piece penalties in total and while refusing to use injuries as an excuse, Rae admitted the home side’s dominance at the scrum ultimately determined the outcome of the contest.

Rae added: “It was a really tough physical battle. The scrum was Ealing’s main way into the game and while it wasn’t the only reason why we lost it was certainly a big contributory factor.

“For 40 minutes we did really well until eventually their front row power and the dominance they had in that area told.

“We have been hard hit by injuries in the front row and with Elliot Chilvers also unavailable to play against Ealing we ended up bringing more loan players in as late as Thursday.

“They knew they had a chance of winning a penalty at every scrum and sadly that was the way it went.

“It’s not great having so many really good front-rowers out injured but that’s the way it goes sometimes and we can’t use it as an excuse – we have to be better.”

However, Rae heaped praise on his side for the manner in which they defended in the first half before an error early in the second period allowed Ealing to take control.

He said:” Ealing are a big, physical team with plenty of players with Premiership and international experience and some of our defensive sets in the first half were brilliant.

“I know we conceded 31 points but we defended magnificently at times.

“To go in ahead at half-time with that one point lead was a huge boost and I thought the first 10 minutes of the second half were a really tight kicking battle with the game on a knife edge.

“We then made a mistake when we won a scrum but knocked on and Ealing scored 14 points in the next three or four minutes which was where the match was won and lost.”

Coventry are next in action at home to Hartpury on Saturday, December 2 with kick-off at 3pm at Butts Park Arena.

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