RUGBY UNION - Rae rues failure to kill game off after Coventry held by Nottingham - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Rae rues failure to kill game off after Coventry held by Nottingham

Coventry Editorial 4th Oct, 2023 Updated: 5th Oct, 2023   0

ALEX Rae believes his side should have put the game to bed after Coventry surrendered a 14-point lead to draw 33-all with Nottingham in their latest Premiership Rugby Cup outing.

Coventry looked set for victory after running in five tries and securing a bonus point courtesy of scores from Rhys Anstey, Obinna Nkwocha, Evan Mitchell, Matt Kvesic and Jimmy Martin.

However, Nottingham produced a late comeback to snatch a draw at Butts Park Arena with head coach Rae frustrated his side failed to kill the game off when in front.

Rae said: “We started really well and the game looked really easy for 20 minutes.

“I don’t know whether we switched off a little, but we then gave away some really soft tries that gave Nottingham a little bit of a glimmer which they never should have got.

“The game should have been put to bed by half time given the way we played for the first 20 minutes but we gave them hope and from there they grew and grew.




“We didn’t kill the game off when we were ahead. We let Nottingham hang in there and credit to them, and they wheeled it round and scored some decent tries.”

The draw leaves Coventry with plenty to do if they are to reach the semi-finals of the competition despite wins against Premiership champions Saracens and Championship rivals Hartpury.


Rae added: “We don’t underestimate anyone, at the moment we’re not good enough to do that so we prepared properly, we expected a tough game, and we got that.

“James Scaysbrook works fantastically hard on defence and up until today it has been a real strength of ours – it has looked very resolute.

“He’s going to be really disappointed with our performance and the players will be as well since defence is something we pride ourselves on.

“I have no doubt that next week we’ll be tested again against Gloucester but we’ll see a different, better performance. I’m just massively disappointed as we’re now going to Kingsholm with lots to do to make the semi-finals.”

Some of the club’s academy players featured in the Nottingham draw with three local products in action at Butts Park Arena much to the delight of head coach Rae.

Rae said: “The pleasing thing is that there were three Coventry lads on the pitch at the end.

“David did really well on his debut then with Theo Mannion coming off the bench and Evan [Mitchell] starting again at fly half we had three homegrown players on the pitch.

“Not winning is disappointing, but the young players will learn from it and hopefully in time we’ll look back at this as being a real good learning point for us.”

Coventry are next in action away at Gloucester on Saturday, October 7 with kick-off at 1pm at Kingsholm.

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