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The bare facts state that Coventry Rugby returned to the top of the Championship table by recording a fourth consecutive bonus point win through their six-try success at London Scottish.

But this tells only a fraction of the story about a contest in which the result was in doubt until home fly half Conor Slevin’s last kick of the game from 43 metres drifted across the face of Cov’s posts.

With their scrum on top and their lineout posing plenty of problems for the Exiles, the visitors could have been out of sight at the end of an opening half during which Ryan Hutler crossed twice and centres Will Wand and Will Rigg scored a try apiece.

However, Cov also conceded two charge-down tries to lock Matas Jurevecius plus a third to full back Luke Mehson when they failed to deal with a cross-field kick and as a result Scottish only trailed 17-28 at the break.

The second half was a totally different story as the Exiles spent long periods in Cov territory. A brace of Tom Marshall scores gave them a 31-28 advantage before tries for visiting forwards Jordon Poole and Paddy Ryan were split by a Will Trenholm touchdown during a 15-minute spell which saw the lead change hands three times.

As Scottish restarted for a final time two minutes remained – and when Cov infringed on the ground Slevin narrowly missed with a last-gasp chance to clinch the spoils and lift his team’s hopes of escaping the foot of the table.

After Cov enjoyed plenty of possession in the early stages, the hosts took the lead when they recovered a tapped-down high kick and sent Mehson racing over.

But the blue-and-whites soon seemed in control after Hutler applied the finishing touch to a long spell of continuity then Wand raced over from a Pellegrini inside ball as Cov attacked with advantage.

Although dual-registered Harlequins’ lock Jurevecius then charged down Will Lane’s attempted clearance and regathered to score, Cov sent Hutler over for his 13th try of the season following a lineout steal and a long pass from Pellegrini.

And when the blue-and-whites opted to tap a penalty and eventually sent Rigg barrelling over from close range they had a bonus point on the board and seemingly control of the match ahead of the half-hour mark.

But Jurevecius then repeated the dose when he charged Cov down at the base of a ruck and this time opened his legs from 45 metres to register a third Scottish try.

With Pellegrini landing four conversions while Slevin managed just one successful kick the visitors held a 17-28 interval advantage.

Jordon Poole claims Cov’s fifth try (credit: John Coles)

But a dominant third quarter from the home side then produced two converted scores for no.8 Marshall. The first followed Cov’s failed quick drop-out attempt before the concession of two quick penalties allowed the Exiles to put together a successful lineout drive from deep inside the visitors’ 22.

A tense final quarter started with Poole claiming his fifth try of the season from an equally well-constructed driving maul before flanker Trenholm responded with the hosts’ sixth touchdown – upgraded by Slevin.

Trailing by five points with five minutes to play, Cov kept their heads impressively to camp inside the home 22 and eventually drive Ryan over for a try which Pellegrini converted.

This edged Alex Rae’s team back ahead, but the drama still had another act to unfold after the visitors’ forwards infringed on the ground from the restart giving Slevin a win-or-bust opportunity from 43 metres.

Coventry Rugby: Wilson; Hutler, Wand, Rigg, Martin; Pellegrini, Lane; Nairau, Poole, Nicol; Tyas, Nkwocha; Ball, Kvesic, Bartlett.

Replacements: Biggs, Chilvers, Salt, Anstey, Ryan, Chudley, Titherington, Opoku.

London Scottish: Mehson, Brown, Hyde, Simonds, Ferdinand; Slevin, Law; Osborne, Wallis, Charlambous; Jurevecius, Ransom; Trenholm, Barrett, Marshall

Replacements: Head, Prior, Hobson, Browne, Ingall, Nutton, Lloyd-Seed, McCallum


London Scottish:

Tries: Mehson, Jurevecius (2), Marshall (2), Trelawn

Cons: Slevin (4)


Coventry Rugby:

Tries: Hutler (2), Wand, Rigg, Poole, Ryan

Cons: Pellegrini (5)