Coventry Rugby’s return to Greene King IPA Championship action at Nottingham on Sunday has been boosted by positive fitness news.
The blue-and-whites were forced to juggle their resources in a number of areas during the six-week Championship Cup pool stage campaign which concluded at Headingley last Saturday.
But with periods of treatment and recuperation now complete, director of rugby Rowland Winter acknowledged that Cov’s coaching group face some difficult selection decisions for their round ten league trip to Lady Bay.
“In the backs, after an eight-week absence, David Halaifonua is fully fit and raring to go,” he said.
“Andy Bulumakau is unlikely to be fit, but Sam Tuitupou has also done well coming from the bench over the last three weeks, while Heath Stevens is not far off being match ready.
“If he doesn’t quite make it in time for Nottingham, he will definitely be back for the first game in January against Doncaster.”
Among the forwards, Winter confirmed that concussion victim Dan Faleafa is unlikely to feature this weekend while Alex Woolford and Jack Preece will be kept off the pitch until January by toe and knee injuries respectively.
But he advised that Cov have a range of options to consider in both the front and back rows.
“With Darren Dawidiuk now fit, plus the recent arrival of Josh McNulty we have three full front rows available for the first time this season,” he said.
“Adam Peters is also now over his hamstring issue, while Ben Adams and James Voss have also made good recoveries and are back in contention.”
Cov faced Neil Fowkes’ green-and-whites on consecutive weekends in late November, with both clubs claiming one win from a pair of thrilling cup clashes which produced an aggregate 137 points.
And according to Winter, his team are ready to convert the try bonus point they earned from last month’s narrow defeat in the East Midlands into a first away win of the campaign.
“It’s great to get back into the league campaign and we’re really looking forward to going back to Nottingham,” he said.
“We’re in confident mood after performing well against them three weeks ago in the cup tie and seek to go one step further and get a win this time.”