COVENTRY welcome back loose head prop Andy Brown and backs Tom Howe and James Stokes from injury for Saturday’s visit to Rosslyn Park.
Brown (pictured) takes over from Boris Stankovich, with Jimmy Litchfield starting at tight head and Phil Boulton going to the bench as Cov continue their front row rotation, while the other changes are enforced following injures to Rob Knox (hamstring strain) and Cliffie Hodgson (shoulder).
The remainder of the starting XV is unchanged from the one that took to the field in last week’s 55-12 demolition of Cambridge,
“The second row, back row, half-backs and centres stay the same following a strong performance last week,” said director of rugby, Rowland Winter.
“Consistency in selection is key. The players have had plenty of opportunities to show what they can contribute to the side.
“They must now take their chances and step up their performances, which will help drive the team forward – we are looking to kick on from where we are now.
“Andy Brown’s all-round game is suited to the artificial pitch at The Rock.
“Rob Knox has been playing really well, he has worked hard on his game to become a dangerous wide threat who can score and create tries for the team. We will get on top of the little niggles he has and get him back in the team soon.
“Cliffie is a big part of our team. He was excellent last week against Cambridge, showing his ability to create and bring players into the game.
“He took a slight knock on his shoulder which has prevented him from taking a full part in training this week, and we will look forward to welcoming him back to the side when he is fully fit again.
“It’s great to have Tom Howe back, he has been a stand out performer for us previously, and also James at full-back”
On the bench, flanker Sam Harry returns to the squad following a short spell with Wasps, replacing Brett Daynes, and scrum-half Rhodri Adamson is back from illness.
Added Winter: “We have really good competition in our back row, lots of options available and the players are really pushing each other hard to get a spot.
“We are looking forward to taking on a Rosslyn Park team that have bounced back after their shaky start.
“They are one of the form sides in the league over the last six weeks, so it will be a great battle, and the 3G pitch will give us a chance to demonstrate our all-round skill set.”
On the injury front Rob Conquest, Sam Grasso and Max Trimble are another week further on with their rehab, but Adam Canning has had another setback in his recovery from concussion which he initially suffered while playing for Cov in August 2015.
“Our medical team are working with him to help establish what activity he can do to stay active, which would ease some of his frustrations,” said Winter.
“Rugby is not on the agenda at present and it’s unclear whether it will be at all.
“However, we will continue to support Adam and there will always be a role for him within the back room team as he has shown a fantastic attitude, a sharp rugby mind and will remain a great part of our team. “
COVENTRY: 15 James Stokes, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Corey Hircock, 12 Tom Wheatcroft, 11 Owain James, 10 Tony Fenner (captain), 9 Pete White, 1 Andy Brown, 2 Scott Tolmie, 3 Jimmy Litchfield, 4 Tom Jubb, 5 Brendon Snyman, 6 Jack Willis, 7 Olly Povoas, 8 Darrel Dyer.
Replacements: 16 Matt Price, 17