Boul­ton: Cov fo­cused on more than just lead­ing the league

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By JOHN WILKIN­SON

RE­SULTS may be the bot­tom line, but the fo­cus of Coven­try’s play­ers is on per­for­mance lev­els – and there was a hint of dis­ap­point­ment af­ter Satur­day’s 38- 14 win over Caldy de­spite it giv­ing them a ten- point lead at the top of Na­tional League One.

“Ob­vi­ously we’re de­lighted with the win, but I sup­pose when you’re top of the league you set re­ally high stan­dards for your­selves and there was a lot of in­ac­cu­racy there,” said cap­tain Phil Boul­ton.

“The en­deav­our, the en­ergy and the ap­pli­ca­tion were there, but per­haps the ac­cu­racy was just lack­ing at times and that’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween us ab­so­lutely ham­mer­ing teams or not.

“We are a very per­for­mance- driven team rather than a re­sults- driven team at the mo­ment.

“If you get the per­for­mance right, nine times out of ten the re­sult takes care of it­self and we’ve been very lucky, I sup­pose, that when we’ve been in­ac­cu­rate and be­low where we want to be, so have some of the other teams. But we know we’re go­ing to be com­ing up against some re­ally tough tests in the next weeks and we just want to make sure that we de­liver the stan­dards we set.” Cov have been go­ing through an un­lucky run of in­juries which has meant mak­ing changes, some­times up to al­most the last minute as in the freak ac­ci­dent at train­ing last Thurs­day night which left Heath Stevens with a bro­ken leg, and has re­ally tested squad strength, but Boul­ton doesn’t be­lieve it was be­hind Satur­day’s dip. “I think ev­ery­one who stepped on to the field was well pre­pared in the week,” he said. “We had to shuf­fle a few things around, but we’ve been to­gether long enough to know each other. Per­haps there was a lit­tle bit of The en­deav­our, the en­ergy and the ap­pli­ca­tion were there, but per­haps the ac­cu­racy was just lack­ing at times. Phil Boul­ton rusti­ness in terms of com­bi­na­tions, but ac­tu­ally it was more the ba­sic er­rors that let us down than any­thing else.

“We do feel it as a group when we get in­juries like we have been hav­ing, but we’re not go­ing to feel sorry for our­selves and the lads who have come in have done a re­ally good job.

“Heath’s in­jury is a ter­ri­ble thing to hap­pen, but Tony Fen­ner has come back from in­jury him­self, played in the de­vel­op­ment team last week, and then stepped into Heath’s boots and had a great game, prob­a­bly play­ing out of po­si­tion as well.

“Both Pete White and Dave Bra­zier get­ting in­jured is also un­for­tu­nate, but Tom Kes­sell has come in at scrum- half on Satur­day and done very well on his de­but.

“It’s just part and par­cel of the game, and you have to keep go­ing. It’s the same across ev­ery other team, in­juries hap­pen, and the good thing is that we’re blessed with a big squad with some bril­liant play­ers wait­ing in Coven­try skip­per Phil Boul­ton the wings. A lot of teams will go through this with­out the same back­ing in their squad.”

Loose head prop Nathanael Titchard- Jones, who came to Cov to­wards the end of pre- sea­son, put in a man- of- the- match per­for­mance on Satur­day to earn praise from his front row part­ner.

“He came here on trial and hadn’t played a lot of rugby last year for one or two rea­sons, and he’s risen to the chal­lenge,” said Boul­ton.

“He hasn’t played at this level be­fore but he’s showing how good a rugby player he is.

“He’s been able to adapt, he’s lis­tened and he’s been well coached.

“He had 40 min­utes play­ing for the Army last Wed­nes­day, he’s come through to play here and had a stormer, and he’s got another game on Wed­nes­day so it’s a busy pe­riod for him.

“But when you’re play­ing well you just want to keep on play­ing rugby, so fair play to him.” Tammy Abra­ham con­fi­dence boost as well, it would show that I’m go­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

“If I do get my op­por­tu­nity I’d like to grab it as much as I can.

“I feel like I’m ready but it won’t be easy.”

Abra­ham feels his Eng­land prospects are im­proved by hav­ing South­gate at the helm, with the for­mer Mid­dles­brough boss stat­ing his will­ing­ness to give youth a chance as he be­gins prepa­ra­tions for the 2018 World Cup.

This week will be the first time the pair have di­rectly worked to­gether, with Abra­ham com­ing into con­tention for the Un­der- 21s just as South­gate was mak­ing the step up to the na­tional team.

But Abra­ham re­vealed the ex- As­ton Villa and Eng­land cen­tre- half has al­ways been on hand to of­fer wel­come ad­vice.

He added: “Gareth is a great man­ager and he likes to bring up young tal­ent.

“It’s ob­vi­ously a big con­fi­dence booster to us.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.