It is very much a case of trading places this weekend for centre Will Owen, and his Coventry Rugby coaches believe this could be the key which unlocks their team’s first away win of the campaign.
After a two-year spell with Saturday’s opponents Doncaster, the Coventry-born, Kenilworth RFC product made the switch to the Butts Park Arena in February.
Owen clinched the man-of-the-match award for his former club when they edged a 20-19 Championship Cup win on Cov’s last visit to Castle Park in November, so Cov director of rugby Rowland Winter is pleased that the 25-year-old No.12 is with the visitors this time around.
“Doncaster are a big, powerful, aggressive team,” he said. “But as Nick Walshe said in our team meeting earlier in the week, the player who caused us no end of trouble when we played up there earlier in the season in the cup – Will Owen – is now sitting in our changing room and that will really help us dismantle what Doncaster are good at.
“That said, someone who we hope will play a big part for us over the next few years – Ryan Burrows – is in their back row as he’s currently on loan there from Newcastle.
“With us now being mathematically safe hopefully the pressure is off and we can play some good rugby, take the opportunity to get that first away win and also leapfrog a couple of places in the league which will make the table look a bit prettier.
“It looks like it’s going to be a nice sunny day up there and it’s a great pitch, so we want to move them around and get them running.”
Early this week, the disappointment around the Blue-and-White camp following their late defeat at the hands of Nottingham last Saturday was palpable.
However, their director of rugby believes his team can use this motivation to bounce immediately back against a Knights side who have won two of the clubs’ three meetings so far this season.
“We know now how it feels to lose your last home game of the season and to let your fans down a bit, so we’d love to go to Doncaster do the same to them and burst their bubble,” Winter admitted.
“Doncaster beat us in January at the Butts in the league when we weren’t very well prepared after the Christmas break and they caught us off guard.
“Motivation is therefore even higher than usual this week to get up to Castle Park and win. Over the last three years we haven’t lost very many games, so losing four on the bounce is not a good feeling and very much one we want to change.
“We’ve also had enough of losing away games and know there’s only two more chances to change that and give the fans who have travelled a long way and spent a lot of their money to support us this year something to shout about.”