A look ahead at Coventry this Saturday

29/08/2013

Jersey RFC are looking to get into the winning habit for this Saturday's match against Coventry RFC (KO 4pm at St Peter).

Nicky Grif 1

The two sides will be renewing acquaintances after meeting in 2011/2012 in National League One. The match at St Peter in December finished 29-3 to Jersey, while by April, the Islanders travelled to the Midlands knowing that a win would secure the league title and promotion.

Around 400 Jersey supporters were among a crowd of 1,600, and it was a nervy first half with Jersey narrowly ahead at the break, a penalty try and two Le Bourgeois penalties providing a 13-6 lead. But the match was blown open in the second half and tries by Trower, Bishop and Sanders enabled the visitors to register an eventually easy 37-13 win.

Jersey fans will be looking forward to the return of full-back Barry Davies after his move to Coventry this summer. He joins a club who finished ninth in National One last season but have ambitions to challenge in the upper reaches of the division this time round.

Davies joins fellow Welsh internationals Scott Morgan, the lock who is Cov's player-coach, and fly-half Matt Jones. All three men won single caps for their country as replacements.

Coventry is one of English rugby's most historic names. Founded in 1874, the club took up residence in their Coundon Road ground in 1921 and developed into one of England's leading clubs, especially during the 1950s, 60s and 70s with a stream of players capped by England, as well as a hat-trick of John Player (National) Cup titles from 1972-74.

The decline from this heyday coincided with the advent of the league system in 1987 and Coventry became a fixture at Level Two throughout the 1990s and beyond, including the move to Butts Park Arena in 2004.

In 2006, Chairman Keith Fairbrother, who had taken over the club after it went into receivership in 1998, sold the club to businessman Andrew Green, but three years later the club was placed in administration. A rescue package and the formation of a new company, Coventry Rugby Ltd, came in January 2010, but hampered by a 15-point deduction stemming from the financial woe, Cov were relegated at the end of the 2009/10 season.

This was followed by the consolidation at Level Three last season in 2010/11, although the following season the club slipped to 13th place, albeit well clear of the relegated trio.

After last weekend's defeat against Aviva Premiership Champions Leicester Tigers, Director of Rugby, Ben Harvey, says he was "humbled" by Leicester's starting line-up:

"It was amazing that they put out such a strong side for us, but we relished the opportunity to play such formidable opponents. We were very pleased about the first half as we kept the score down to a modest level. For Drew Locke to have scored a good try was terrific.

"I thought some of the individual performances were extremely good but, although we started out strong, defensively we lost some shape as the game went on. We have several areas we need to improve on, but overall we were playing against some of the best players in European rugby."

Tickets are available from the Club Shop at St. Peter (10am - 1pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays). Tickets are also available from The Jersey Evening Post offices at Five Oaks 8.30am-5pm Monday-Friday and Red Properties on the Esplanade, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. Adult tickets cost £5, whilst Under 17s will be admitted free (proof of age may be required).

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