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“A GOOD day out” for Coventry Rugby was director of rugby, Rowland Winter’s assessment of yesterday’s events in National League One.

A bonus-point victory over Cambridge and defeat for closest rivals Darlington Mowden Park at Plymouth Albion saw Cov increase their lead at the top of the table to 21 points – and on Winter’s birthday too.

It was, however, not totally plain sailing with Cov largely frustrated by the Cambridge defence in the opening 40 minutes, leading 19-10 at the break, and nothing coming easily.

“Cambridge fought for everything,” said Winter. “They made it hard work for us, at the breakdown in particular where we weren’t up to it, and their set piece pushed us a little bit. We had to really work for every metre we got.

“It was a poor performance by us at Loughborough last week, very similar to the Blackheath game with the only difference that Blackheath are much better than Loughborough otherwise we could have lost that.

“The boys knew that, they trained and prepped really well in the week, and the response we had to some of the talking-to they had from Nick Walshe and so on has been fantastic today.

“To go and get six tries and 40 points is a fantastic response, and with a bonus point win and circumstances elsewhere in the league, it’s been a good day out.

“It’s not over yet by any means, we could lose the last eight games, so we need to keep on taking it a week at a time and go up to Darlington next week fully focused. They haven’t lost at home all season, and that’s a record we’d like to take from them.”

Centre Heath Stevens made his 100th appearance for Cov, starting for the first time since breaking his leg in October, and Winter was delighted with his performance as well as the work of Tom Jubb and Rob Knox, who both scored to tries.

“It was good for Heath to get 50 minutes under his belt – we didn’t really expect to have him or Sam Tuitupou back at this point, we thought it would be another couple of weeks, so to have them both on the pitch and sharing the shirt is fantastic and sets us up well for next week.

“Jubby was very good today, he wasn’t too worried about the loose play and just did the dog work at the breakdown and with his support play, and that’s important for him.

“Rob Knox is growing week after week – he’s a home guy, it means a lot to him to be out on that pitch and that shows in his performance. He was outstanding today.”