COV’S defensive structure was the key factor in yesterday’s 40-21 win at Hull Ionians in the eyes of director of rugby, Rowland Winter.
The pressure it put on the home side made a big contribution to Cov’s 19-0 lead early in the second quarter and saw them ride out the storm as Ionians, 26-7 down at half-time, battled to claw back their deficit after the break.
“Our defence probably won us the game,” said Winter. “We had opportunities to score our tries, but three of those came from turnovers as a result of our good defensive lines and putting pressure on them.
“I’m pleased – it’s taken the best part of eight or nine games to get to the point where we can back our defence, and that shows the boys are starting to settle.
“We got our preparation right, we’ve done that for the last couple of weeks now and that has been a big focus for us since the Esher performance, so to get that off our backs, to come to a tough place like this, get that first away win and a bonus point with six very good tries is really pleasing.
“I think it’s a step up from last week, which itself was a step up from the Fylde game, and we’re improving our performance week after week.
“We’ve got a bit of a roll going, and now we’ve got to back it up next week against Blaydon who are always tough opposition, home or away.”
The game ended with Cov conceding eight penalties in quick succession over ten protracted minutes of added time, only ending when Ionians scored a third try, but it wasn’t of little cause for concern to Winter.
“We probably switched off a little bit and didn’t have the same discipline we’d had in the first 75 to 78 minutes or so, and we let in a sloppy try at the end.
“But the game was done and, overall, I’m not too worried about that. To get 40 points on the board with ten minutes to go and have the game pretty much in the bag away from home, at a tough place like this, I’m happy.”