SCRUM coach Boris Stankovich was more than happy at the way Coventry’s pack came through their sternest set piece test of the National League One season so far in the 34-33 win over Plymouth Albion.
Cov had dominated the opposition scrum in previous games, and although Albion’s eight made it a more equal test, they generally had the upper hand and won the penalty count – conceding three in the opening 40 minutes before making the necessary adjustment at half-time and keeping a clean sheet in the second half.
“I thought overall it was a great contest,” said Stankovich, who sat out the game nursing a slight knee injury. “It was definitely the toughest test for our scrum so far, we knew going into the game that it would be from all the analysis we had done on Plymouth.
“We felt that really it was going to be won or lost up front, so it was important to do well.”
The penalties against Cov all came when the scrum turned on Plymouth’s ball.
“There was probably too much movement on opposition ball in the first half,” said Stankovich. “We did speak about it at half-time and made an adjustment, and the boys came back out and did a good job.
“The scrum will turn naturally on the loose head side, and if you’re the team in possession, more than likely the referee will penalise the side that looks like it is moving as the scrum turns round.
“The majority of referees will penalise you there, and that’s something we recognised.
“The line-out went well, there was just the one really that went wrong when we were in a strong position and this is happening to us in important areas where we are coughing up the ball. We’ll have to sort that out during the week.”
Added Stankovich: “I thought our first half was outstanding, we got ourselves into good positions and we took all the right options in terms of kicking our penalties which we probably haven’t done up until now.
“We went into half-time with a pretty comfortable lead, however we didn’t start the second half particularly well and everything we spoke about during half-time, we did the opposite.
“Our performance in the second half was a little bit disappointing, so we’ve got to learn going forward that we can’t afford to drop off our game.
“It almost cost us, but a good break by James Stokes brought us into field position and we got a penalty to win the game. That’s rugby, it’s an 80-minute game.
“We showed a lot of character and the biggest positive for me was the fact that two weeks ago we would have lost that game.
“It’s little steps at a time and we’ll see where we are this time next week because we have another big game coming up away at Hull.”