Ton­gan trio to­gether as Cov go into cup decider

Warwickshire Telegraph - - SPORT - By PAUL SMITH

COVEN­TRY Rugby field a trio of Ton­gans in the back row when Don­caster Knights are the round five Cham­pi­onship Cup vis­i­tors to Butts Park Arena to­day (3pm kick-off ).

The Blue & Whites have to win and hope re­sults else­where go in their favour if they are to progress in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Jack Ram and Latu Makaafi, who started on the flanks against Not­ting­ham last week­end, are joined by No.8 Dan Faleafa, who played a prom­i­nent role in all three of his coun­try’s re­cent au­tumn in­ter­na­tion­als. Cov’s start­ing pack shows one fur­ther change to the line-up which per­formed so im­pres­sively in the set-piece dur­ing the de­feat at Lady Bay, with Phil Nilsen wear­ing the No.2 shirt while fel­low hook­ers Darren Daw­id­iuk and Scott Tolmie are both named among the re­place­ments. They are joined on the bench by Har­lequins loan sign­ing Josh McNulty, who is in line to make his blue-and-white de­but.

Be­hind the scrum, fit-again Rob Knox re­turns from con­cus­sion to partner Tony Fen­ner in mid­field out­side an un­changed half-back pair­ing.

James Stokes, who re­verts to full back, is joined in a pacy back three by lead­ing scorer Max Trim­ble and fit-again Junior Bu­lumakau.

Di­rec­tor of rugby Row­land Win­ter said: “When we went up to Don­caster a few weeks ago we left a few scores out on the pitch. We cre­ated plenty of chances but didn’t take enough of them.

“We think we have im­proved quite a bit since then – our at­tack is flow­ing bet­ter and if we can keep im­prov­ing our de­fence and set-piece Satur­day will hope­fully be a good day for us. We feel like we’re mov­ing for­ward in train­ing, and in the last four or five weeks we’ve added a lot of de­tail to our sched­ule, so the boys are now work­ing a lot harder be­hind the scenes. Over the last month we’ve al­most had an­other mini pre-sea­son, and hope­fully all the work they’ve put in will pay off dur­ing the re­main­ing cup and league games.”

Jack Ram joins Latu Makaafi and Dan Faleafa in the back row for Cov to­day

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