HEAD coach Nick Walshe is happy that Coventry Rugby’s crushing victory at Darlington Mowden Park will have dismissed any lingering doubts about the squad’s ability to perform away from home against the better sides in National League One.
The spectre of the heavy defeat at Blackheath in January lingered in the background before Saturday’s game, but Cov produced an outstanding performance to secure an emphatic 42-0 win and take away Park’s 100 per cent home record.
“We knew we had people who doubted us and that was one of the messages I put across to the boys in the week,” said Walshe.
“Some people doubted if we could come up to a place like this and win, let alone win by this much.
“Going into the game I did mention Blackheath because the last time we went away to play a top four or five side we lost, and we lost handsomely. We were awful and we were killed in that game.
“That definitely figured in the chats this week. We had to put that to bed once and for all – we’d already put it to bed in quite a lot of ways, but we still had to come to a top team and win.”
Walshe conceded however, that the margin of Cov’s victory exceeded expectations.
“We had prepared really well in the week and the boys were mentally and physically switched on, but to be honest I hadn’t really expected that,” he said.
“We wanted to build after a really good performance last week against Cambridge, but we knew it was going to be tough – we respect Darlington massively, they’re a really good side and they’ve done so well this year.
“They’re clearly a tough side to beat at home, but we came out and started well, which is what we knew we had to do, with a very early try.
“Then we got the second try after having to defend for quite a few minutes and that probably put a few doubts in the minds of the Darlington boys.
“We felt that if we could get a lead then we could try to kick on a bit. It was just very, very good.
“The message again was to work together, stay in control of our game, and do everything we could to put pressure on Darlington because, at the end of the day, looking at the league they probably needed to win more than we did.
“The boys worked hard for each other, and when you do that and put in shifts like they did, these are the outcomes you get.”
The result puts Cov 26 points ahead of their closest challengers at the top of the table, but Walshe remains adamant that they can look no further ahead than the next game and the trick now is to follow up Saturday’s performance at Caldy this coming weekend.
“Genuinely, I’m not even thinking about the title,” said Walshe. “We’ve still got seven more game to go and we could lose all seven.
“We’ve got a massively tough game this week up at Caldy, and after the performance at Darlington we’ve got to go and back it up there.
“The boys have put in an unbelievable amount of work for this, and you’ve got to enjoy these moments because getting a result like that against a team who are very good, and hadn’t lost at home all season until now is special.
“We’ll just keep going, work hard each week, and take each game as it comes which is a bit of a rubbish cliché, I know, but that’s the way life is and rugby being a tough sport, we’ve got to do that.”