Coventry journeyed to the capital in pursuit of a first away win against London Scottish in nearly 24 years. Things began somewhat off-script as the Coventry team bus was late in arriving due to the current train strikes – forcing kick off to be delayed by half an hour.
The weather in London was ideal, whilst Coventry’s start to the game was anything but. Scottish raced to a three try lead within 15 minutes of play beginning, as it seemed that Cov were still on the rather delayed bus. The first Scottish score came from a nice team move finished off by the extremely pacey Cassius Cleaves, which Harry Sheppard duly converted.
The second followed less than 60 seconds after the first, as scrum half, Dan Nutton intercepted Cov’s first passage of possession before showing his speed to make it to the corner to finish. Sheppard was less successful with his second attempt at goal.
Things went from bad to worse four minutes later. As Coventry desperately tried to play themselves in to the game, the Exiles turned the ball over before breaking through the middle of a ruck. Some smart link up play took place before the ball found Nutton to race under the posts for his second of the afternoon. Sheppard converted, and Coventry were 19-0 down after just 11 minutes.
The multiple Cov fans that were in attendance seemed confident that their side would get themselves back in to the contest, as they’ve done on numerous occasions already this season. Their faith was rewarded just after the 15-minute mark as a scintillating team move was finished off by Will Tablot-Davies. Pat Pellegrini grabbed the extra two points. (19-7)
Some back and forth and kick tennis allowed the crowd to get their breath back for a moment before Sheppard landed a penalty from to distance to extend the hosts’ lead. (22-7)
Coventry were not deterred by the score line as they kept on playing. A Scottish infringement at the breakdown allowed Louis Brown to place his side inside the home team’s 22. A beautifully constructed driving maul was finished off by Suva Ma’asi, before Pellegrini added the extras from the boot. (22-14)
History repeated itself on the half hour mark as another driving maul was followed by another Suva Ma’asi score. The maul was starting to look like a real weapon for the away side as the hosts’ lead was cut to 3 points. (22-19)
The moment of the half took place just before the end of the first period. Some patient build-up play, before a pin-point cross-field kick from Pat Pellegrini found Will Talbot-Davies in the corner to score. Cov took the lead for the first time and the sides headed into the sheds to recover from a crazy first 40.
Half time: 22-24
Fortunately, from a Coventry perspective, we started where we left of at the beginning of the second half. An incredible line from Will Rigg was complimented by his turn of pace for a brilliant try on the 42-minute mark. (22-29)
Scottish were not in the mood to lay down, as Sheppard added another 3 from the tee to bring the score to 25-29.
The crowd at the RAG witnessed one of the most incredible 50:22’s you’ll ever see from Louis Brown, as he used the outside of his foot in a ‘banana kick’ style fashion to give Cov possession in Scottish territory. The forwards needed no second invitation to make it count, as yet another driving maul ended in another Suva Ma’asi hattrick score. (25-36)
Scottish responded immediately with another intercept try, this time from centre, Theo Manihera. (32-36)
With 20 minutes left to play, Pat Pellegrini got a try for himself after an afternoon of creating for others. The Australian bounced off a rather thunderous tackle before spinning and making his way to the try-line and converting his own score. (32-43)
Only minutes were left on the clock, but such was the nature of this game that Cov were in no mood to take any risks, as Pellegrini took the chance to add three more points from the tee before the referee blew time on a terrific advert for Championship rugby.
Full time: 32-46
Thank you to all the travelling fans that made their way to London despite the transport issues. We look forward to welcoming you to Butts Park on Saturday 22nd October when we face Cornish Pirates.