Coventry 20 Yorkshire Carnegie 15: Improving Carnegie lose ‘battle of bench’

Carnegie try scorer, Peter Lucock. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
Carnegie try scorer, Peter Lucock. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
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Neither Yorkshire Carnegie nor Coventry were particularly at the races but it was the hosts who ran out 20-15 winners at Butts Park Arena on a cold and wet Saturday afternoon.

Yorkshire made a strong start to the match but couldn’t capitalise on an early penalty in the Coventry 22 area.

Yorkshire Carnegie director of rugby, 'Chris Stirling. PIC: Tony Johnson

Yorkshire Carnegie director of rugby, 'Chris Stirling. PIC: Tony Johnson

Coventry fly-half Will Maisey slotted a penalty through the posts to give Coventry the lead six minutes in.

Carnegie scored the first try of the game as the day’s captain Pete Lucock crashed through on a nice cutback line, scoring under the posts. The conversion from Elder took the score to 3-7.

Soon after, Coventry had a try of their own. A kick through from Bulumaku bounced up for Max Trimble and the winger was over in the corner. Kick converted, 10-7.

When in possession of the ball, Carnegie looked to be in control. The half-back paring of JB Bruzulier and Jade Te Rure seemingly keeping things moving for Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Carnegie's 'Andy Forsyth. PIC: Tony Johnson

Yorkshire Carnegie's 'Andy Forsyth. PIC: Tony Johnson

Another penalty for the hosts before half-time took the score to 13-7 at the break. Yorkshire were still well in the game but needed to cut out the mistakes.

The second half was much the same, as the match developed into a battle of two strong defences.

Coventry scored first in the second half. A string of unnecessary penalties saw Yorkshire pegged back on their own line. The pressure eventually told as Charlie Beech crashed over from short range to score against his former side. The scoreline was 20-10 with 10 minutes to play.

The final score of the game came from Andy Forsyth. The centre hit a line on a swift backs move, beating three defenders from 40 metres out to score impressively in the corner.

At the end, Coventry held on to the ball and to finish off put the ball into touch to seal their fourth home win of the season.

Speaking after the game Chris Stirling, Carnegie’s director of rugby, said: “We’re moving in the right direction, we’re not far off.

“The thing that hurt us the most today was the fact that we were really limited in what we had on the bench.

“We needed to stay with the players on the field and at the back end of the game they were pretty much out on their feet.”

On new players Jade Te Rure and Antonio Kiri Kiri, Stirling added: “I thought Antonio was really strong in the first 50, then lost his way, probably with jetlag. Jade had some nice little touches but he needs to sharpen up in accuracy.”

Coventry Rugby: Fenner; Bulumakau (Tolmie), Bulumakau (Stevens, 77), Stevens (Tuitupou, 57), Trimble; Maisey, Kessell; Gibbons (Alo, 57), Nilsen (Tolmie, 46), Jeannot (Beech, 43); Faleafa (Gray), Oram; Peters, Ram (Makaafi, 50), Nutley (Ram,55) (White, 74).

Yorkshire Carnegie: Elder; Watkins (Bullough, 19), Forsyth, Lucock, Brown; Te Rure, Bruzulier (Fox, 77); Thomas (Foster, 41), Buckle, Mitchell; Myerscough, Smith; Kiri Kiri, Bainbridge, Temm. Unused Replacements: Gibbings, Ilnicki, Frost, Brown.

Referee: Matt O’Grady.

Attendance: 1999.