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Will Wand claimed four tries as precise, powerful and pacy Coventry took their winning run to four games with an emphatic 17-47 win at Hartpury’s Alpas Arena.

Cov scored seven tries in total – five of which came in a wind-assisted first half – with the outstanding Wand’s personal tally equalling a long-standing club league record held by Andy Smallwood.

As well as erasing the memory of losing their 18-month unbeaten home record to Hartpury in December, this excellent result saw Cov end a ten-year winless league run at the Gloucestershire-based university.

And by building on recent dominant forward displays at Doncaster and during the landmark home win over table-topping Ealing, the visitors have positioned themselves for a strong final section of the season as they seek to improve on last year’s third-place finish.

Playing with a very strong wind Coventry got off to their most impressive start of the season by putting three tries on the board in the opening 12 minutes.

Wand opened their account when he scooped up Tobi Wilson’s chip ahead and raced to the home line following an excellent long Tiki Nayalo pass.

Cov’s full back then went from creator to scorer when he stepped his way through midfield to the home posts after an attempted Hartpury clearance was half charged down and the blue-and-whites moved the Ball neatly infield.

And the outstanding Nayalo soon added the visitors’ third of the day and incredibly also his first try of the season when he crashed over from a five-metre quickly-tapped penalty won by a long spell of pressure.

Tiki Nayalo added Cov’s third try at Hartpury (picture: John Coles)

Cov then missed an opportunity to add a fourth score when Pat Pellegrini’s kick pass blew dead before Jimmy Martin was despatched to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on.

This enabled Ryan Hutler to switch wings and rise highest to pluck an attempted Mike Austin clearance out of the teeth of the gale before racing to the line for his 14th try of the season.

And despite being a player short the visitors had enough momentum to add a fifth try on the stroke of half-time when Will Chudley and Wilson combined to release Tom Hitchcock whose powerful burst left Wand with a simple finish.

Five Pellegrini conversions left Coventry holding a 35-point interval advantage and turning to face the elements they continued to play some impressively positive attacking rugby.

A couple of flowing long-distance moves went within a final pass of delivering a sixth score but instead – with almost their first meaningful attack of the game – it was Hartpury who struck next through winger Matthew Ward who got on the end of a good counter-attack.

However this was only temporary respite for the hosts as the outstanding Wand soon completed his first hat-trick in senior rugby following a long Evan Mitchell pass.

A lengthy stoppage eventually ended with Cov replacement back-rower Jack Bartlett departing with a leg injury suffered in a tackle. As a result, the blue-and-whites – whose entire bench had already been deployed – were forced to play the remaining 19 minutes with 14 men.

Chester Owen then burst 50 metres into the Hartpury 22 to establish the position from which Wand eventually capitalised on two powerful Vili Nairau carries to stroll over for his fourth score.

Mitchell’s conversion took Cov into to a 5-47 lead before Hartpury took advantage of their numerical superiority and the wind at their backs to grab a brace of late tries.

Centre Robbie Smith claimed the first of these after Alex Forrester and Jarrard Hayler combined down the left before Ward completed a double following a quick tap.



Tries: Ward (57) (76), Smith (74)

Cons: Bazalgette (76)


Coventry Rugby:

Tries: Wand (4) (40) (61) (68), Wilson (8), Nayalo (12), Hutler (33)

Cons: Pellegrini (4) (8) (12) (33) (40) Mitchell (68)



Hartpury: Forrester (Holiday 75); Hillman-Cooper, Smith, Adderley-Jones (Mathews 15), Ward; Bazalgette, Austin (Williams 62); A.Benz-Salomon (Gibbons 61), Crane (Hunt 60), J.Benz-Salomon (Rees 61); Lemon, Davies (Cobbett 70); Gray, Short, Hayler

Replacements: Bedall  

Coventry Rugby: Wilson; Hutler, Wand, Hitchcock (Betteridge 64), Martin; Pellegrini  (Mitchell 56), Chudley (Lane 56); Trinder (Chilvers 60), Poole (Ma’asi 60), Nicol (Nairau 60); Tyas, Nkwocha (Owen 65); Ball, Kvesic, Nayalo (Bartlett 60)

Referee: Dan Jones

Half-time: Hartpury 0-35 Coventry Rugby