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COVENTRY’S players gave exactly the response director of rugby Rowland Winter was looking for as they bounced back from the heavy defeat at Blackheath to beat Esher 57-12 at a muddy Butts Park Arena.

Cov defied the conditions to score nine tries as they extended their lead at the top of National League One to 15 points.

“First and foremost it was about starting well, playing with confidence and, importantly, making sure that we got the win,” said Winter. “To go on and get the bonus point puts us back on track.

“We wanted to make amends for last week and I felt we were mentally right. There’d been a lot of reviews and soul-searching all week to make sure we were ready to go.

“The scrum was very good, the maul was exceptional – the forwards did some really good work in the week with Louis Deacon – and nine tries was double the target and some.

“I thought we controlled the game well but still tried to play. We wanted to mix things up, to make sure we kicked the ball well and ran it back when there were opportunities, and I felt we found our feet and grew as the game went on.

“We had that intent to move the ball around and you could see the boys growing in confidence and getting back on track.

“The conditions were difficult to play in, but the boys did exceptionally well and the true strength of the squad came through – all 20 players were very good.”

Added Winter: “There’s a lot of work to do. Next week is incredibly important, Bishop’s Stortford are a very good side and it will be our first away game since Blackheath, so we’ve got to do it all again.

“Last week is out of our system in the rugby sense, but it is still fresh in the mind and that’s good motivation for next week.”