A POOR result, but perhaps predictable and one that sets the squad a challenge for the last two weeks of the season was how director of rugby Rowland Winter assessed Coventry’s 22-10 defeat at Ampthill.
Cov led 7-0 after a tight, physical first half, but were very much second best in the second half as Ampthill’s power game took them clear.
“Unfortunately, I think it was coming a little bit,” said Winter. “There’s probably been some complacency throughout the squad for a couple of weeks now since we won the title, and a combination of our indiscipline and a lack of accuracy in our play meant that we were probably second best in every area.
“When you put those two things together away from home against a side like Ampthill and don’t get the key components of your game right, then that will always be the result.
“We didn’t have much ball because we probably kicked away a bit too much and some of the kicks weren’t that accurate. As a result, we gave Ampthill plenty of ball – they’re a power-based pressure side, and if you do that you’re going to be put under the cosh.
“It was good to get the try just before half-time, and we felt that with a bit more energy and a bit more ball in the second half we’d be okay. But we didn’t have that energy or ball, and with the little bit we did have, we weren’t accurate enough.
“We weren’t good enough today, and hats off to Ampthill, they were pumped up, they sniffed a bit of blood and an opportunity to beat the champions, and fair play to them.
“It’s disappointing, but it won’t take any gloss away from what we’ve done and we’ve got two games to go which gives us a new, fresh challenge to come back to next week.”
Added Winter: “The squad has been stretched a little bit with injuries, but as a result of that the opportunity has been there for a couple of different players to get involved and I think we’ve learnt quite a bit about these boys.
“They’ve been challenged and pressured, and it’s interesting to see how they’ve responded to that. That’s probably true for the whole squad today, and there’s lots of lessons there that will help us out over the next couple of months.
“I think the boys will respond, as they have done before – they won’t want to finish the season with two more losses, so they’ll need to step up and there’s no greater challenge really than second-placed Darlington at home.
“We’ve got to regroup and refresh, there’s lessons that we need to learn and pick up from through the next week ready for Saturday.”