Boulton: Cov focused on more than just leading the league
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.”