19th Oct, 2018

Winter demands better as Coventry’s away day woes continue at Richmond

Craig Gibbons 11th Oct, 2018

COVENTRY slipped to a 22-5 defeat at a rain-drenched Richmond Athletic Ground against hosts who claimed three tries to the visitors’ one.

The first of these, finished by prop Will Goodrick-Clarke, enabled Richmond to build an 8-0 interval lead in their Championship contest.

And after Andy Bulumakau responded for Cov, Jesse Liston’s touchdown restored the home side’s advantage before an 80th-minute scrum pushover, finished by Chris Davies, wrapped things up.

Coventry’s director of rugby Rowland Winter said: “We made 20 turnovers in the game, gifting them field position and possession on far too many occasions as a result.

“To be honest, there wasn’t much that we were good at and which went our way.

“We’ve got to look at this and address it as we can’t afford to go the whole season being good at home but rubbish away.

“It was very disappointing and doubly frustrating since we put in such a good performance last week at the Butts in front of 3,000 of our own supporters.”

Coventry got off to an untidy start as a loose line-out tap led to Richmond camping in their 22, then drive Goodrick-Clarke over for the opening score.

The visitors seemed certain to provide an instant response after forcing their way into the home 22, only for their driving maul to be held up on the home line.

Richmond then forced a couple of scrum penalties, the second of which took them into the shadow of the blue-and-white posts before some good defence forced Luc Jones to chip dead.

Tight head prop Charlie Beech was forced off early in the second quarter, to be replaced by Luc Jeannot, and the visitors immediately turned possession over at a Richmond attacking line-out.

Adam Peters and Latu Makaafi combined well to steal home possession on the Cov 22 and release Heath Stevens.

His powerful carry took the game to halfway before a handling error ended their progress.

Understandably in the conditions, both sides were making plenty of mistakes, which meant little flowing rugby and when Cov were penalised for line-out obstruction home full back Rob Kirby extended his team’s advantage to eight points.

Kirby then found 50 metres with an excellent angled kick into the visitors’ 22 but Coventry disrupted well and were then awarded a penalty when their one-time No.8 Ed Milne was penalised at a midfield maul.

As half-time approached Will Maisey was narrowly wide with a 38-metre penalty attempt after referee Ian Tempest adjudged the home side offside in midfield.

Now playing with the elements, Cov countered through Sam Tuitupou’s chip-and-chase which gave his pack the chance to drive a line-out deep into home territory.

A series of forward drives later, Tom Kessell’s floated pass sent Andy Bulumakau into the corner.

In Cov’s most fluent move of the match, David Halaifonua then combined with Bulumakau and Jack Ram down the left wing, only for the hosts’ scramble defence to snuff out the danger.

However, Coventry soon won a penalty at a midfield breakdown but Maisey was short with his attempt.

After intervention from the touch judge, Coventry prop James Gibbons was shown a yellow card for foul play and Richmond piled on the pressure through their forwards.

The visitors held the hosts’ first drive but from the ensuing five-metre scrum flanker Liston went over for a try which Kirby upgraded via the upright.

With 15 minutes remaining, Winter emptied his bench in search of some late momentum.

Tuitupou then slipped running out of defence and was penalised on the ground but Cov were handed the slimmest of lifelines when Kirby’s penalty attempt hit the post from 40 metres.

But undeterred, the home side controlled territory in the closing stages and eventually Davies finished off a scrum pushover which Kirby converted.

Coventry entertain London Scottish on Saturday.

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