RUGBY UNION - Wand magic sets Coventry Rugby on way to emphatic win at Hartpury - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - Wand magic sets Coventry Rugby on way to emphatic win at Hartpury

Coventry Editorial 25th Mar, 2024 Updated: 27th Mar, 2024   0

WILL Wand equalled a long-standing club record after scoring four tries in Coventry Rugby’s emphatic 47-17 victory at Hartpury University.

Wand crossed twice either side of the break at Alpas Arena with further tries scored by Tobi Wilson, Senitiki Nayalo and Ryan Hutler as Cov ended their 10-year winless run in the league at Hartpury.

And Wand’s four-try haul equalled a long-standing club league record held by Andy Smallwood while the result means Coventry sit second in the Championship table

The visitors made a blistering start as Wand scored the game’s first try after just three minutes when he scooped up Wilson’s chip ahead and raced to the line following Nayalo’s excellent long pass.

Cov struck again five minutes later as Wilson turned from creator to scorer as he stepped through midfield to the Hartpury posts with Patrick Pellegrini converting both scores.

And Coventry scored their third try in a remarkable opening 12 minutes when Nayalo crashed over from a five-metre tap penalty to dot down his first of the season following a long spell of pressure.

Despite losing Jimmy Martin to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on, Hutler scored Cov’s bonus point try on 34 minutes as he plucked Mike Austin’s attempted clearance out of the air before racing to the line for his 14th try of the season.

Still a man short, the visitors scored their fifth try on the stroke of half time as Will Chudley and Wilson combined to release Tom Hitchcock who in turn left Wand with a simple finish.

Pellegrini stayed perfect from the kicking tee to send Coventry into the break with a 35-point lead.

Hartpury finally troubled the scoreboard on 56 minutes as Matthew Ward finished off a flowing counter attack.

However, Cov ran in their sixth try five minutes later when Wand completed his first hat-trick in senior rugby from Evan Mitchell’s long pass.

A lengthy stoppage ended with Cov’s replacement back-rower Jack Bartlett departing the pitch with a leg injury which left the visitors a man light for the remaining 19 minutes.

Wand scored his fourth of the game on 68 minutes to round off a stunning individual performance after Chester Owen’s 50-metre burst and two strong carries from Vili Nairau.

Hartpury made the most of their numerical advantage to score two late tries as Robert Smith and Ward both crossed in the final few minutes.

Coventry are next in action at home to Cambridge on Friday, April 5 with kick-off at 8pm at Butts Park Arena.

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