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Tom-WheatcroftCENTRE Tom Wheatcroft will captain Coventry in Saturday’s National League One opener against Loughborough Students at Butts Park Arena with director of rugby Rowland Winter stressing that selecting the 20-strong match day squad was far from straight forward after a strong pre-season.

“Selection was tight, and naturally players are disappointed, but we have gone with a side that is physical and aggressive and has a balanced look to it,” said Winter.

“We aim to win each game we play, and the squad have trained hard in our build up to this match. There is a real buzz around the place and we are excited to get started.

“Loughborough Students are stacked with talent, and I was impressed with their performance against London Irish last weekend.

“Saturday is going to be a great game and we can’t wait to get started.”

Added Winter: “Both Dan Rundle and Olly Povoas are unlucky to miss out this week having performed well in recent games. They are looking sharper all the time and it’s impressive how hard they are working on their all-round game, and we are looking forward to involving them soon.

“Rob Knox is rested this week as he continues to work on his rehab, while Andy Brown is expecting the birth of his child this week so his focus is rightfully at home.

“Rob Conquest, Tom Poole, Sam Harry and Callum MacBurnie continue their return to playing with the season coming a week or two too early for them. We expect them to be up to speed shortly and they will then put more pressure on the match day squad.

“Cliffie Hodgson is now involved in light training, and Pete White is progressing well with his rehab.”

Good luck also to Coventry’s development players who are out on loan and picking up valuable game time with our partner clubs – Joe Foreman (Birmingham & Solihull), Jake Byrne, Sam McNulty, Sam Smith, Sam Hollingsworth (Broadstreet), Josh Palmer, Jacob Knight (Nuneaton) and Max Titchener (Banbury).

Kick-off at Butts Park Arena is 3pm, and live post-match clubhouse entertainment will be provided by Gdansk and friends.

COVENTRY: 15 James Stokes, 14 James Pritchard, 13 Corey Hircock, 12 Tom Wheatcroft (captain), 11 Max Trimble, 10 Tony Fenner, 9 Sam Grasso, 1 Jimmy Litchfield, 2 Scott Tolmie, 3 Phil Boulton, 4 Tom Jubb, 5 Brendon Snyman, 6 Darrell Dyer, 7 Eoghan Grace, 8 Ali Bone.
Replacements: 16 Matt Price, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Brett Daynes, 19 Rhodri Adamson, 20 Will Maisey.