DIRECTOR of Rugby Rowland Winter hailed his Coventry Rugby troops, after two victories in as many days provided the side with a taste of victory for the first time in pre-season.
It means Coventry ensured a winning response to their opening pre-season defeat, after beating Blackheath 36-23 on Sunday, followed by a narrow 17-14 win over Birmingham Moseley at Billesley Common on Saturday.
Winter was enthused by what he saw, and believes the two-game weekend was of great benefit to the club.
“It’s been a really challenging weekend of rugby, which is exactly what we needed,” he said.
“It would have been far easier to put all the senior players together at one fixture, but we wanted to stretch ourselves and learn as much as we can about this group.
“Both Moseley and Blackheath will be targeting a top four spot in National One, and both have provided tough tests for us.
“I am pleased we got two wins, but they really are irrelevant in the bigger picture as these games are about trying as many combinations as possible, building experience on the pitch together and fine tuning our performance ready for the league season.”
Sunday’s fixture in South East London was sparked into life by Blackheath’s Mark Cooke, who smashed a penalty between the posts to put the hosts in front.
Junior Bulumakau restored parity after linking up well with Tom Kessell, but Blackheath were stubborn customers and went back in front instantly through Marcus Burcham.
Darren Dawidiuk finished off an initially disrupted attack to hit back for a second time, before the hosts and Coventry’s Jonas Mikalcius exchanged scores, with Coventry ahead at the break.
Danny Herriott and Jake Lloyd reduced the deficit for the hosts to put pressure on Coventry, who responded with a second score of the match from Mikalcius – who raced over the whitewash unopposed.
Coventry extended their lead further through a James Gibbons try, and while Blackheath’s Lloyd also scored a second of the game, captain Ryan Burrows emerged from a scrum with the ball to round off the scoring from close range.
Tries from Scott Tolmie, Toby Trinder and James Martin overturned an early deficit in Moseley, which, despite late pressure, was enough to also see out the game in the second half.
Coventry round off their pre-season preparations on Saturday (3pm), when visiting Cambridge RUFC.