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In tight head prop Adam Nicol Coventry Rugby have a man with recent experience of what it takes to win English rugby’s second tier.

The 26-year-old Scot played an important role for last season’s title winners Jersey Reds before the islanders followed Wasps, Worcester and London Irish into administration prior to the start of the current league campaign.

Cov boss Alex Rae was then quick to step in and bring the man considered by many good judges to be the Championship’s strongest scrummager to the Butts Park Arena.

Now fully fit following a frustrating pre-Christmas spell spent overcoming a training injury, Nicol has won a host of admirers with both the solidity he brings to his new club’s set-piece and his wider contribution around the field.

Interestingly the former Glasgow Warrior has identified some of the traits which helped Jersey lift the title as also being present within the Coventry set-up.

“The Championship is really hard – physically, emotionally and mentally it is hard to be right on top of your game every single week,” he says.

“Having strong self-belief in the squad is really important; that enables you to go out and play with confidence against all opponents as I think we have showed recently.

“Another big thing for us at Jersey was that quite a few of the squad had been together for three or four years.

“That’s quite unusual in the Championship as players are often spotted and picked up by Premiership or URC clubs when they have a good year. Quite a few of the boys here at Cov were part of the group that finished third last season and built a long unbeaten home run.”

Nicol’s head coach has no doubt about the contribution he has made to Cov’s on and off-field development since arriving at the BPA in the autumn.

“Adam has really grown into his role here at Coventry after having an awful end to his time in Jersey,” Rae says.

“He’s right up there as the best scrummaging tight head in the league, his work around the park has also been very good so he has been a real positive for us.

“His maturity and manner and the confidence he brings to everyone around him is outstanding and we’re very lucky to have him here.”

Adam Nicol in action during Cov’s recent win at Doncaster (pic: John Coles)

While Nicol believes Cov are coming to the top of their game he also says there is still more to come from the squad.

“Every week that passes has seen our squad improve and keeping that focus on driving our performances forward regardless of who we have just beaten is really important,” he says.

“We had a bit of a lull after doing well in the Premiership Cup at a time when we had quite a few injuries. But that is behind us now and everyone can see how well we have done since the whole squad has been fit and we’ve had training time together.

“Training is really competitive as we’re all pushing each other for the starting jerseys. From a front row perspective, with us having six or seven fit props we are able to scrummage two or three times a week in training when it comes to games that work really comes through.

“Training against another person is so much better than scrummaging against a machine. Once you’ve done your analysis, it enables you to replicate how opponents might play against you and to be really well prepared for Saturday.

“It’s a bit of a cliché but we have six games left and we’ll go one match at a time and try to perform to our best and then hopefully after beating both Doncaster and Ealing we will be right there at the end of the season.”

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