Experienced Sale Sharks prop Joe Jones has returned to Coventry on a short-term loan basis.
With a testing run of Championship games against Doncaster, Ealing and Hartpury scheduled for the next three Saturdays, Cov head coach Alex Rae has brought the Welsh-born tight head back to the Butts Park Arena on a precautionary basis.
Jones played five games for the blue-and-whites during 2021 before signing a deal that saw him switch back to the AJ Bell Stadium club where he had previously spent two seasons earlier in his career.
Intriguingly, the 28-year-old no.3 who is a former Wales under-20 international also had a brief spell playing for Saturday’s opponents Doncaster Knights during 2020/1.
With Ollie Andrews (pictured above with his head coach) in a boot following surgery on his foot, Cov have deployed Adam Nicol – a recent signing from Jersey – and young prospect Eliot Salt as the bedrock of their scrum during recent weeks and Rae has decided the time is right to provide them with some support.
“Joe did very well when he was here previously for around half a season and it’s great to have him back,” he said.
“With Ollie being out at the moment Joe is here to get some rugby under his belt after an injury and to help us by providing cover.
“He’s played quite a bit in the Premiership over his two spells at Sale and is a strong man who scrummages well.”
Rae said that Cov need to step up from their Ampthill display against unbeaten Doncaster and also acknowledged that their successful 2022/23 campaign and unbeaten home run stretching into a 13th month has put a target on their back.
“We have a proud home record here at the Butts,” he said.
“This isn’t an average Coventry side any more, it’s a good Coventry side that other clubs come here wanting to knock over and we have to learn to live with that.
“The saying goes: ‘pressure is a privilege’ and we’ve earned the right to have people coming here viewing us as a big scalp through our good form over the last year.
“We now have to step up to that which we didn’t manage to do last time against Ampthill.”
Rae paid tribute to winger Jimmy Martin who this weekend makes his 50th appearance for his hometown club.
“With his father being a former player, his family all have a real attachment to the club and you can see how much it means to him and how much he cares,” Cov’s boss said.
“Jimmy had a breakthrough season last year when he really cemented himself in the side for the first time. On his day he is one of the best wingers in the Championship and if he gets his head down and keeps working hard the sky is the limit for him.”
Tickets for Coventry’s next Championship home game against Doncaster on Saturday 18th November are available from: https://www.coventryrugby.co.uk/tickets/matchday-tickets/