SCRUM coach Boris Stankovich believes that sixth place at the midway stage of the National League One season is a fair return for Coventry.
“The table doesn’t lie and, personally, I think our position is a true reflection of where we are as a team and in terms of what happened in the off season with new personnel coming in,” said Stankovich after the weekend’s 20-20 draw at Darlington Mowden Park.
“That’s the reality of it, and after this Saturday’s game against Birmingham Moseley, I think the two-week period we have off from playing over Christmas and the New Year will be great for us as a team – there are a lot of tired bodies and the knocks are starting to pick up a bit.
“It’s a chance to reflect and review what’s gone on and see what we can do better in order for us to go forward next month.
“I can’t say I’m totally happy, but I’m a realist. It’s just frustrating that too often we’re getting ourselves into good positions but are not looking after the ball well enough or are making silly errors.
“I absolutely still believe in the talent we’ve got and they’re giving us as much as they can, and I’m optimistic about how the rest of this season and next year is going to go.”
Cov let slip a 17-6 lead in the closing stages of Saturday’s game, conceding a converted try on the final whistle to settle for a draw in a game which had raised a few scrum issues for Stankovich.
It led to him making front row changes – Matt Price and Andy Brown coming on for Scott Tolmie and Jimmy Litchfield – before the break in an attempt to check a run of penalties against Cov as they set the scrum.
“I’m disappointed more than anything by the result and not so much the performance,” said Stankovich.
“Unfortunately, one thing led to another at the end and we compounded our errors, which we have been doing all season.
“Making the changes when we did had nothing to do with the way the boys were playing.
“I don’t think the scrum was officiated very well and it became a lottery, especially in the first half, which is something you don’t want to see.
“We decided to make the changes because we just thought we needed to inject something else and to give the referee a different perspective of what was happening and, hopefully, we could get more reward from it, which I felt it did.
“Overall I felt our defensive qualities were a lot better than they had been in previous weeks. The pitch was abysmal, it was very heavy underfoot and I don’t know if that made a difference in terms of the defensive set up, but I was pretty happy with the contact area and the ruck.
“There were a couple of issues with the line-out and it was disappointing to drive into their 22 and cough up the ball, but overall I was happy with the way the forwards went.”
As Cov came under increasing pressure in their 22 in the closing moments, an animated Stankovich could be seen close to the action, shouting instructions from the sidelines, for which he received a rebuke from match officials.
“It can be highly frustrating when you are not playing, I’m realising that now as a coach,” he said. “You can see it all unfolding in front of you and you can see what’s going to happen. I can’t help being animated.”