Head coach Alex Rae has given a vote of confidence to the side that claimed a 19-33 win at Cambridge last Saturday by naming the same starting line-up to host Nottingham tomorrow (3pm kick off).
The only Boxing Day game being played in either of English rugby’s top three divisions seems certain to attract a bumper crowd to the Butts Park Arena – and according to club officials a good walk-up attendance on the day could see the ground record of 4612 come under threat.
Cov are unbeaten in their last three outings against the Archers, albeit Nottingham left the West Midlands with a 33-all draw in September’s Premiership Rugby Cup meeting.
And despite respecting their third-placed opponents, who currently lead Cov by five league points, Rae believes that his team’s best form will pose them plenty of problems and hopefully deliver a repeat of the bonus point win claimed at Lady Bay on St Stephen’s Day in 2022.
“Nottingham are a good team who play good rugby and like to throw the ball round a bit,” he said. “They have picked up some good results in recent weeks and are in third place in the table but we back ourselves against anyone at the BPA.
“We’re just focused on delivering a strong performance. To be honest it could be anyone turning up to play us on Boxing Day and it wouldn’t impact on how we’re approaching the game.
“We are able to challenge opponents in multiple ways through our hard-carrying forwards, set plays or our backs. However the game pans out on the day we’ll be well prepared.”
In Ryan Hutler, who has ten tries from ten starts this season, plus centre pairing Will Wand and Will Rigg and left wing Jimmy Martin, who have all been on the scoresheet in recent weeks, Cov have plenty of attacking ammunition behind the scrum.
And after their scrum and lineout functioned efficiently at Cambridge, the home pack also go into the contest with plenty of confidence.
Cov’s only change is on the bench where on-loan Bath hooker John Stewart is replaced by another loanee in the shape of Sale’s Ethan Caine.
Rae again opts for a six forwards-two backs split among the replacements where Jack Bartlett and Tom Ball offer back-row support to the starters.
Coventry: Wilson; Hutler, Wand, Rigg, Martin; Pellegrini, Chudley; Chilvers, Poole, Salt; Tyas, Nkwocha; Ryan, Kvesic, Nayalo.
Replacements: Caine, Southworth, Nairau, Anstey, Ball, Lane, Mitchell, Bartlett.
Tickets for Coventry’s Championship home game against Nottingham on Boxing Day are available from: https://www.coventryrugby.co.uk/tickets/matchday-tickets/