History will be made in the Spring as Coventry Rugby face an England representative side for the first time in the club’s 150-year history.
In a special anniversary match, which takes place at the Butts Park Arena on Saturday May 25th (3pm kick off), Alex Rae’s high-flying team will take on England under-20s.
The contest takes place on the last day of the Championship season when Cov are now without action due to the collapse of scheduled opponents Jersey Reds.
The blue-and-whites have during their long history locked horns with Canada, USA and Georgia and perhaps most memorably in 1974 hosted the Barbarians at Coundon Road in a match to mark the club’s centenary.
England’s under-20s have also previously appeared at the Butts Park Arena when completing a 35-8 win over South Africa in 2019.
But Cov’s end-of-season clash with an England side coached by Warwickshire product Mark Mapletoft will be the first time that the West Midlands’ highest-ranked club have played against a team wearing the red rose.
England’s 2019 visit to Coventry featured a host of players who have gone on to feature in the Premiership, including Tom Willis, Alfie Barbeary and Gus Warr, and the current generation is similarly likely to contain future stars.
Meanwhile Cov’s line-up could give the likes of prop Toby Trinder, full back Tobi Wilson, flanker Matt Kvesic and no.8 Jack Bartlett the opportunity to play against England a few years after they represented their country at age-group level.
Coventry chief executive Nick Johnston, who has been the driving force behind arranging the fixture as part of Cov’s 150th anniversary celebrations said the match, which is free to season members should be a superb occasion.
“We’re really grateful to England for bringing the under-20s to our city to help us celebrate our 150th anniversary,” he said.
“Bringing international rugby to Coventry creates a really big occasion and it will be great for our local community to see future stars in action.
“It is also a great example of our club’s ability to bring a big, family-focused event that generates income for the city.”
According to Mapletoft, a well-known figure in Warwickshire rugby whose career began at Rugby Lions, England’s under-20’s are using the trip to the Butts Park Arena as part of their build-up to the World Rugby U20 Championships which take place in South Africa in the summer.
“It’s important to keep connections strong at all levels of the game in this country and this fixture further reinforces that,” he said.
“Coventry are a team on the up as their league form this season reflects. Alex Rae and his staff have done a fantastic job and we want to test our squad against the strongest opposition possible.”
Tickets for the contest which is being played a fortnight after Cov close their league campaign in Penzance against Cornish Pirates are available from the club’s website: www.coventryrugby.co.uk/tickets/matchday-tickets/