Coventry’s hopes of claiming an away win at Cambridge tomorrow are boosted by the return of experienced no.8 Senitiki Nayalo.
The former London Irish and Edinburgh powerhouse missed his club’s last-time-out home defeat at the hands of Hartpury while on British Army duty.
Nayalo is joined in the back row by Matt Kvesic and Paddy Ryan who makes a first start since being part of the USA’s autumn international campaign during early November.
Cov boss Alex Rae also makes a change in the second row where Obi Nkwocha makes his sixth start of the season while Rhys Anstey moves to the bench.
With Toby Trinder, Ollie Andrews, Adam Nicol, Suva Ma’asi and Will Biggs still on the recovery trail, the blue-and-whites name a same-again front row triosto start while Bath loanee John Stewart and Exeter’s Danny Southworth join recent Fijian recruit Vili Nairau among the replacements.
Behind the scrum, Tobi Wilson returns to the full back shirt he filled with such distinction during his club’s emphatic home win over Doncaster.
Cov make two further changes to their three-quarter line with Will Wand and Jimmy Martin, who have nine tries between them this season, returning to the starting team while Evan Mitchell goes to the bench.
Looking ahead to his club’s first league meeting with ‘the blood-and-sand’ since March 2017 when Cov returned with a 27-36 win, Rae said tomorrow’s newly-promoted hosts will offer a tougher test than their league position suggests.
“Cambridge have got better with each week that’s passed and last time went very close to beating Nottingham,” he said.
“They seem to be finding their feet in the Championship pretty quickly – for sure we don’t want to be the first team they beat and we’re expecting a really tough battle.
“Looking at their games so far they have a good scrum and maul and with the weather having been so bad we’ve no idea what the pitch will be like.”
Coventry: Wilson; Hutler, Wand, Rigg, Martin; Pellegrini, Chudley; Chilvers, Poole, Salt; Tyas, Nkwocha; Ryan, Kvesic, Nayalo.
Replacements: Stewart, Southworth, Nairau, Anstey, Ball, Lane, Mitchell, Bartlett.
Tickets for Coventry’s Championship home game against Nottingham on Tuesday December 26th are available from: https://www.coventryrugby.co.uk/tickets/matchday-tickets/