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DIRECTOR of rugby Rowland Winter will be looking for a positive response from his players this week after Saturday’s 61-29 defeat at Blackheath – Cov’s first defeat of the season and their first in 25 games.

After conceding a penalty try inside the first three minutes, league leaders Cov found themselves 39-0 down after 34 minutes, and although staging a brief recovery on either side of the break they were never in contention as Blackheath finished with ten tries.

“The test now will be to see how we respond,” said Winter. “Today is not necessarily the bad point, it’s whether we can react and build up for next week.

“The performance wasn’t anything like the Coventry we’ve seen in the last 12 months, but we’ll have a long look at it, we’ll react, and how we respond next week will be the measure of this group.

“There must have been some complacency because we weren’t at the races for that first 25 minutes or so, every bounce went their way, and we weren’t mentally switched on.”

Added Winter: “This will serve as something of a reality check and underlines that there is still a lot of hard work to do to achieve what we are trying to do.

“You don’t want something like this and it’s obviously disappointing, but hopefully we can turn it round and use it as a springboard, a lesson, and come back next week in a stronger position.

“The group are hurting, but they’ll take it on the chin and we’ll all move on.

“I hope the reaction is the right way and this is something we can use positively for next week.”