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Coventry Rugby v London Scottish – match preview

Dan Faleafa made his Coventry debut last Saturday (pic: Nick Meredith)                                            Words – John Butler

It might even surprise longer-standing Coventry supporters to know it is 21 years since their club and London Scottish last met.

Having said that, this season, one of those stranger happenings occurs since Cov meet the joint tenants of the Athletic Ground, Scottish and Richmond, twice within a week. A rather unusual statistic for sure – a quirky record in itself.

The reasons for this lack of meetings are many-fold. Differing league status over those 21 years is certainly one, another sadly being that London Scottish, like Richmond, suffered financial difficulties around 1997 and as a result had to climb back through the league pyramid, having been relegated by the RFU.

The origins of London Scottish can be traced back to 1878, when, after a meeting in a public house on Ludgate Hill, the club was formed.

Current director of rugby is Dave Morris, who Cov last had contact with during his time in overall charge of rugby affairs at Loughborough Students.

Head Coach is Nic Rouse, who in recent times held a similar role at Rotherham Titans when they were in the Championship.

Squad-wise, there was a fair degree of movement during the summer. Amongst those joining London Scottish was prop forward Jimmy Litchfield, who made 49 appearances in a Coventry shirt before his departure at the end of last season, while fly half Jake Sharp moved in the other direction.

It is one of the newcomers to Morris’s squad, former Bath fly half/centre Rory Jennings, who heads Scottish’s points tally with 42, while retained wingers Charlie Ingall and Rob Stevenson have four tries apiece.

Last Sunday, Scottish suffered a heavy home defeat, going down 17-54 to local rivals London Irish. This defeat left them with the same two-wins-and-four-defeats record as Cov, and in ninth position in the Greene King IPA Championship table.

Another similarity between the clubs’ campaigns to date is found in the identity of their two beaten opponents – Jersey Reds and Bedford Blues – all of which means Cov and Scottish move into this Saturday’s match on the same match points and respectively in eighth and ninth places.

Bearing in mind the long gap since the last meeting, it will probably also come as no surprise to learn there only been ten previous league meetings, Coventry currently leading narrowly by 5-4, with one match in London drawn. Two of those Scottish successes have been achieved on Coventry soil.

Despite the real disappointment felt by those of a Cov persuasion at the manner of last Saturday’s defeat at Richmond, with other results being reasonably kind, victory on Saturday would probably move the blue-and-whites back to somewhere near halfway in the table. Kick off against London Scottish is the usual 3.00pm.

Advanced tickets for the IPA Greene King Championship clash, preferentially priced at £18 (seated), £15 (standing) and £2 (ages three to 16) are available before 4pm on Friday from the Butts Park Arena ticket office on 02476 231001.

Entry without an advanced ticket is also available on the gate.

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