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Tom Kessell captains Coventry against Yorkshire Carnegie (pic: John Coles)

Scrum half Tom Kessell captains Coventry for the first time tomorrow when Yorkshire Carnegie visit the Butts Park Arena for the second round of Greene King IPA Championship Cup action (3pm kick off).

The absence through injury of last week’s centre pairing Heath Stevens and Andy Bulumakau sees Tony Fenner move from full back to No.12, where he combines with Rob Knox, who has impressed for the development XV.

In turn, this allows James Stokes, who scored twice in a 25-minute cameo from the bench during Cov’s 20-19 defeat at Doncaster last Saturday, to return to the starting line-up.

Alex Woolford has recovered from a toe injury to take his place alongside George Oram in the second row, which allows Coventry’s coaching group to name the same front five that faced the Knights.

However, Adam Peters, who was Sky Sports’ man-of-the-match when Carnegie visited the Butts in the league three weeks ago, is sidelined by a muscle strain which allows Ben Adams to join Jack Ram and James Voss in the back row.

Recent signing Dan Lewis, who scored a hat-trick for the development XV at London Irish last month, is in line to make his Saturday bow from the bench.

Coventry Rugby:

  1. James Gibbons
  2. Scott Tolmie
  3. Biyi Alo
  4. Alex Woolford
  5. George Oram
  6. James Voss
  7. Jack Ram
  8. Ben Adams
  9. Tom Kessell ©
  10. Will Maisey
  11. Max Trimble
  12. Tony Fenner
  13. Rob Knox
  14. Junior Bulumakau
  15. James Stokes


  1. Darren Dawidiuk
  2. Nathanael Titchard-Jones
  3. Phil Boulton
  4. Tom Jubb
  5. Jack Preece
  6. Peter White
  7. Dan Lewis

Director of rugby Rowland Winter said:

“If we can pick up four or five points on Saturday against Carnegie, it will put us in a decent position going into the third game which is also at home against Nottingham.

“We need to win a minimum of three games to finish in a qualifying position, and we’re more than capable of doing that.

“As Carnegie get players back fit and make a few new signings Chris Stirling is putting together a different side to the one he inherited.

“We are expecting their line-up to be very different to the one we faced a couple of weeks ago in the league. Equally we’re four or five players different than we were, due to the likes of George Oram, Alex Woolford, James Voss and Phil Boulton having come back into the side.

“Quite often when you play a side for the second time in a season it is a very different game as you have both adapted and made improvements. But when you see each other three times in quick succession tactics come a bit into it as well.”

Advanced tickets for the IPA Greene King Championship clash, preferentially priced at £18 (seated), £15 (standing) and £2 (ages three to 16) are available before 4pm on Friday from the Butts Park Arena ticket office on 02476 231001.

Entry without an advanced ticket is also available on the gate.

Watch Rowland Winter speak to BBC C&W’s Alec Blackman below:

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