CONDITIONS dictated a forwards game, and coach Louis Deacon was happy with the way the home pack rose to the challenge as Coventry Rugby put their season back on track with a 57-12 win over Esher.
Any doubts following the previous week’s loss at Blackheath were dismissed as Cov took an early 12-0 lead, and from the platform of a solid scrum and effective line-out, their dominance increased as the game went on and the Butts Park Arena pitch grew muddier.
It was exactly what forwards coach Deacon – who has just signed a new contract with the club for next season – wanted to see.
“It was a perfect response after last week,” said the ex-England second row, who came to Cov in the final weeks of last season.
“A few home truths had been said in the week, we spoke about our standards and we had a big week in training, and the guys certainly put it right with that sort of performance in very difficult conditions.
“Everything we did in the week was about going back to basics. We set very high standards for ourselves and the previous week we were way below par, but on Saturday we were back to the levels we expect.
“The way the conditions were probably suited us, and it was a day for the forwards when you don’t want to play too much rugby but just want to play the game in the opposition half and need to kick the ball a little bit more than you probably would on a drier day.
“The game wasn’t the sort to suit our backs, but they actually played some good rugby at times and took their scoring opportunities very well.”
After conceding ten tries at Blackheath, Cov’s defence returned to form – although Deacon was annoyed with Esher’s second score in added time at the end of the game.
“We probably played a little too much early doors and they scored their try in the first half off the back of a mistake, so the message at half-time was just to keep playing in the right areas of the field which we did,” he said.
“But I pride myself – and the forwards do – on our defence five metres out from driving mauls, so to get driven over at the end for their second try is a little bit disappointing.
“We’re not really sure what went wrong at Blackheath, we haven’t got the answer, but we obviously got complacent and we didn’t play to the standards we normally do. We didn’t start particularly well, we made a few mistakes which seemed to affect us quite badly and was probably where it all stemmed from.
“We went away from what we’re actually good at, we didn’t win the collisions in defence and they got a bit of momentum from it and scored tries.
“You never want to lose, but sometimes a defeat is good for you. It led to some soul searching, a reset really, and we focused massively on ourselves in the week to make sure we learned from it.
“Bishop’s Stortford this week is going to be a difficult place to go. We’ve now got to put in the performance away from home that we’ve put in at home against Esher, so it’s another challenge for us.”
On a personal note, Deacon is delighted to be on board for next season with Cov currently 15 points clear at the top of National League One and eyeing a return to the Championship.
“It’s a fantastic club with people that are great to work with and great support that I haven’t seen before in this league – it’s fantastic,” he said.
“I like the ambition of the club, I want to be a part of that moving forward, and hopefully things continue to keep going the way they are and we can achieve the goal we all wanted at the start of the season.”