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James Stokes in action against Carnegie in November (pic: John Coles)                                                              Words – Paul Smith

For Coventry Rugby the equation on Saturday is a simple one.

A win against Yorkshire Carnegie at Headingley secures a home Championship Cup quarter-final in early February, while anything less sends the blue-and-whites on their last-eight travels.

And according to director of rugby Rowland Winter, if his team can clinch their first success of the campaign away from the Butts Park Arena, none of their rivals will relish being sent to Coventry.

“We’ve been strong at the Butts Park Arena for a while now and have only lost three games in the last 38 there over that time,” he said.

“Being in front of our home crowd would give us an advantage in the tie, and the best possible chance of progressing to the semi-finals.

“This season our away form hasn’t been good overall, but we put in better performances in our last two games at Doncaster and Nottingham. We now have every incentive to build on that at Carnegie this weekend.”

Cov’s coaching group also has selection options available in the pack, where a number of key forwards have returned to fitness.

However, on the back of last week’s excellent second-half display which delivered a round five bonus point win over Doncaster Knights, Cov are leaning towards fielding a very similar combination.

“The boys are in good shape and everyone is buzzing after the win over Donny,” Winter confirmed.

“There is also good news on the injury front since we didn’t pick up anything last weekend.

“James Voss, Adam Peters, Ben Nutley and Ben Adams are now all back in full training and depending on how things go over the next couple of days could all come into the reckoning to face Carnegie.

“Alex Woolford is still struggling with his toe, but we’re hoping he will be ready for Nottingham.

“In the backs David Halaifonua is back in full training while Andy Bulumakau and Heath Stevens are progressing well.”

David Halaifonua is back in training (pic: Nick Meredith)

Winter also confirmed that Cov have released back-rower Olly Povoas to join ambitious National Two outfit Hinckley, where he has been on loan this season, on a permanent basis.

“Olly wanted more regular rugby, and Hinckley can provide him with that, so he goes with our best wishes,” Cov’s boss said.

“He has been a valued member of the squad during his time at the Butts Park, and we wish him every success.”

Cov’s director of rugby believes his squad have taken several positives from their cup campaign, which he hopes will position them well for the resumption of league action at Nottingham on Sunday week.

“We targeted a number of things from this competition and to an extent have achieved them,” he said.

“The first was to qualify for the quarter-finals, which we’ve done, then to get our attack flowing which by being top try-scorers in the competition we’re also doing pretty well with.

“It was also about getting similar teams out for a period, and it looks like we may have 20 or 21 of last week’s 22 lining up again this Saturday, so we’re ticking that box too.

“Momentum for the league season is the other important thing, and this six-week block has been a bit of a mini pre-season towards that objective.”