Only vic­tory and re­sults else­where will see Cov go on

Warwickshire Telegraph - - RUGBY UNION - By PAUL SMITH

COVEN­TRY Rugby will clinch qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Cham­pi­onship Cup quar­ter-fi­nals on Satur­day should a home win over Don­caster be ac­com­pa­nied by the right re­sults else­where.

And ac­cord­ing to di­rec­tor of rugby Row­land Win­ter, the task of rev­ers­ing the 20-19 de­feat suf­fered at Cas­tle Park in round one will be handed to much the same group of play­ers who faced Not­ting­ham last Fri­day evening.

“The in­jury list is pretty long at the mo­ment so in quite a few po­si­tions it is a case of look­ing at who is avail­able,” he said.

“In the backs, Rob Knox has re­cov­ered from con­cus­sion, but Max Trim­ble, Ju­nior and Andy Bu­lumakau are doubt­ful, while David Halai­fonua and Heath Stevens won’t be fit.”

Cov’s scrum en­joyed a pro­duc­tive night at Not­ting­ham, and with strong front row avail­abil­ity be­ing sup­ple­mented by new loan sign­ing Josh McNulty, the coach­ing group in­tends to con­tinue the ro­ta­tion ap­proach used over the last month.

“We need to give Bi Alo a break, as he has done five games in a row and we don’t want to push him too hard straight af­ter the med­i­cal break he had in the sum­mer,” Win­ter ex­plained. That will give Josh the chance to come on to the bench.

“Alex Woolford’s toe is likely to be an­other cou­ple of weeks and James Voss is hav­ing a scan on his neck so oth­er­wise the front five is likely to be much the same as last week.”

In the back row, the blue­and-whites hope Ben Nut­ley will be fit to take his place af­ter be­ing forced off at half-time at Lady Bay by an ab­dom­i­nal in­jury.

Adam Peters and Ben Adams seem likely to need an­other week to re­spec­tively re­cover from ham­string and an­kle is­sues, while Jack Preece’s knee prob­lem is less se­ri­ous than ini­tially feared, but still un­likely to al­low him back on the pitch prior to the New Year.

De­spite this grow­ing list of pos­si­ble and prob­a­ble ab­sen­tees, Cov’s di­rec­tor of rugby be­lieves his squad has de­vel­oped sig­nif­i­cantly over the last month.

“We have got a few in­juries at the mo­ment, but we have a big squad and plenty of tal­ent within it,” he said.

“A hand­ful of de­vel­op­ment play­ers have been given the op­por­tu­nity to come through and get some first team ac­tion which on the whole most have taken.

“It has also al­lowed some of the wider squad play­ers to have some game time, some of whom have shown they’re more than ca­pa­ble at this level.

“So there is a pos­i­tive with ev­ery neg­a­tive, but it would be good we could re­duce the in­jury list a lit­tle and rest a cou­ple of the boys be­fore we restart the league cam­paign.”

Rob Knox has re­cov­ered from con­cus­sion

Josh McNulty is likely to come on to the bench

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