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Fijian tight head prop Vilikesa Nairau will make his first Coventry Rugby start at Bedford on Monday (Goldington Road, 3pm kick off).

Having appeared from the bench in his new club’s previous three Championship games, the 21-year-old switches roles with Eliot Salt for the New Year’s Day clash with the Blues.

Elsewhere in the starting line-up, head coach Alex Rae opts for the same players that appeared in the blue-and-whites’ back-to-back wins over Cambridge and Nottingham.

Elliott Chilvers and in-form club captain Jordon Poole join Nairau in the front row with Obi Nkwocha and James Tyas again joining forces in the engine room.

Cov’s short-term loan contingent reduces to only Exeter loose head prop Danny Southworth due to the return from injury of hooker Will Biggs who will make his third appearance of the season when he emerges from the bench.

Rae again opts for six replacement forwards which means lock Rhys Anstey plus back-rowers Jack Bartlett and Tom Ball join the trio of front-rowers in reserve.

Right winger Ryan Hutler returns to his former club looking to extend his tally of ten tries in eleven games forms a same-again back three with Tobi Wilson and last week’s two-try star Jimmy Martin.

Cov make a third change among the replacements by naming outside back Louis James in the no.22 shirt.

Former Bedford club captain and forwards coach Rae said he is looking forward to his return to Goldington Road where Cov seek to continue their recent good run against the Blues.

“Bedford are a good team who play a lovely brand of attacking rugby which (their DOR) Mike Rayer will never move away from,” he said.

“They are averaging around 38 points per game this season at home so we know it will be a really tough game against the best attacking team in the league.

“We have won our last five games against Bedford and go their confident in our ability to spoil their party in the same way that Nottingham came to the BPA on Boxing Day and attempted to spoil ours.”

Coventry Rugby: Wilson; Hutler, Wand, Rigg, Martin; Pellegrini, Chudley; Chilvers, Poole, Nairau; Tyas, Nkwocha; Ryan, Kvesic, Nayalo.

Replacements: Biggs, Southworth, Salt, Anstey, Ball, Lane, James, Bartlett.