COVENTRY make just one enforced change to their 20-man squad for Saturday’s trip to local rivals Birmingham Moseley with Rob Knox coming in for injured centre Tom Wheatcroft.
Will Maisey starts in place of Wheatcroft, who is recovering well and will complete further medical screening before targeting a return to play at the end of the month.
Other changes to the starting XV see Boris Stankovich, Matt Price and Jimmy Litchfield line up in the front row while Brett Daynes steps up at blind side flanker.
“We are excited to take on Moseley at their place,” said director of rugby, Rowland Winter.
“They will be looking to bounce straight back to the Championship, which brings pressure. They also have a number of new players trying to settle and they will be looking to start their home campaign with a win, like we did last week.
“We are looking forward to building on our strong performance against Loughborough, but we know it will be a far greater challenge this weekend.
“We have rotated the front row and brought in Brett which gives them an opportunity and shows the depth in our squad which allows us to have a slightly different tactical approach to last week. We expect a big impact from Phil Boulton, Scott Tolmie and Darrell Dyer off the bench.
“Will Maisey comes in to the 12 shirt where he has impressed alongside Tony Fenner throughout the summer.
“Andy Brown, Tom Poole and Dan Rundle will be travelling reserves, and we expect to use them over the coming weeks in our league fixtures. They are unlucky to lose out on selection with competition tight for their spots, however we must reward the players who played well and achieved our targets last week.”
Sam Harry, Alex Smit and Dan Rundle will be involved with Wasps in the A League game against Bath at Broadstreet on Monday night. This is an opportunity for them to get game time, and we are looking forward to working with Wasps as and when they require players while exploring opportunities for their players to get game time on dual registration with us to help our league campaign when required.
Cliffie Hodgson, Rob Conquest and Pete White are still on track to return on time, while Callum MacBurnie, Jay Heath and Adam Canning continue to train hard and wait for an opportunity to make an impact.
The Development players continue their loan time at our partner clubs, we wish Broadstreet, Nuneaton, Bees, and Banbury well for this weekend.
Coventry: 15 James Stokes, 14 James Pritchard, 13 Corey Hircock, 12 Will Maisey, 11 Max Trimble, 10 Tony Fenner, 9 Sam Grasso, 1 Boris Stankovich, 2 Matt Price, 3 Jimmy Litchfield, 4 Tom Jubb, 5 Brendon Snyman, 6 Brett Daynes, 7 Eoghan Grace (captain), 8 Alistair Bone.
Replacements: 16 Scott Tolmie, 17 Phil Boulton, 18 Darrell Dyer, 19 Rhodri Adamson, 20 Rob Knox.
NATIONAL LEAGUE 1 MATCH PREVIEWS (SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10)
Week 2 previews by Tom Little
Fixtures (3pm unless stated)
Birmingham Moseley v Coventry Rugby
Blackheath v Esher
Darlington Mowden Park v Blaydon
Hartpury College v Plymouth Albion 14.30
Loughborough Students v Hull Ionians 14.00
Macclesfield v Fylde
Old Albanian v Ampthill & District
Rosslyn Park v Cambridge
Will week two spring any more surprises and will firm favourites Hartpury College be able to take full advantage of a second successive home game? Will the four league newcomers be able to maintain their good start from last week with three of them at home?
Saturday also sees a plethora of derbies with bragging rights up for grabs. None more so than at Billesley Common as Birmingham Moseley make their home NL1 debut against Coventry Rugby. Both sides had impressive opening day victories, but form could go out of the window as history rather than rugby takes over. A difficult one to predict as both sides have rebuilt since last season, more so for Coventry than their neighbours. A close and nailbiting encounter is in prospect.
Hartpury College are hoping for a second consecutive home victory, this time over a Plymouth Albion side who had a narrow home win over Cambridge. On the face of it an easy win for Hartpury, but Albion still have some experience, especially in the pack, to cause a fright. It should still go to the home side but may be a lot closer than perhaps expected.
Another derby comes at St Albans where Old Albanian meet Ampthill & District. Both sides will be basking in the glory of opening day victories, especially the home side who countered the impressive Blaydon pack with some great defence and then clinical finishing. However, in Ampthill they will face a giant pack whose good defence put paid to a favoured Rosslyn Park side. Another close game and too close to call.
Loughborough Students will want to forget their first half against Coventry and although improving in the second, still seemed some way off the pace. Tey meet a settled Hull Ionians side who defended well and held on for a victory over Darlington MP. Another difficult game to predict with Ionians perhaps the slight favourites to get a result.
A London derby sees Blackheath at home to Esher. The home side’s large away defeat at Hartpury College somewhat dented their pre-season optimism, raised a few eyebrows and indeed a blush or two, and they meet an Esher side who struggled at times but beat a well-prepared Macclesfield. Provided Blackheath can put the defeat behind them they should have enough quality and experience to just sneak this one.
The north west derby between Macclesfield and Fylde promises an exciting meeting between two well-matched sides. Both lost narrowly last week but with Macclesfield seemingly better prepared this time around for NL1 and, at home, they may just edge this one.
Pre-season favourite Rosslyn Park host newcomers Cambridge. Although both sides lost narrowly last Saturday, Cambridge will probably be more satisfied with their performance, but if Park can expand their game instead of relying on a catch-and-drive tactic, they do have the squad and quality to win easily. It may turn out a lot closer than expected, however.
The remaining game sees another derby, this time in the north east between Darlington Mowden Park and Blaydon. Both sides suffered surprising opening day defeats, and although Blaydon have the pack to cause problems, they are away from home and despite a new-look side that still needs to gel, CMP should just shade this one.