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Cov in Unique Rugby Alliance

Coventry Rugby Club has formed a groundbreaking alliance with local junior outfit Barkers Butts to bring weekly league rugby to the Premiership club's Coundon Road ground.

The deal, which starts next week, was the brainchild of Coventry's new rugby administrator Ian Carvell, but negotiations have been masterminded by chairman Keith Fairbrother.

He enthused:

"Our Coventry squad will have use of all the training facilities at Barkers Butts ground, and they will play their Midlands One league matches at Coundon Road. It means that rugby supporters can watch league games at Coundon Road on every Saturday of the season."

Fairbrother said that the teams will play in an entirely new strip, specially designed to incorporate the colours of both clubs.

He explained:

"When we have to leave Coundon Road for The Butts Stadium at the end of next season we shall have no training pitches, so we entered into talks with Barkers Butts four weeks ago to ask if we could use their pitches off the A45 at Meriden.

"There is no question of a takeover or a merger. It is an agreement to work together and both clubs have agreed all aspects of the scheme."

He explained that Coventry's coaches will hold teach-ins for the Barkers' coaches and the junior club's players will train and rub shoulders with their Premiership colleagues.

"Barkers have been renowned for their ability to bring on good young players, but it concerned me that some of them progressed to other clubs and did not join Coventry.

"This way provides a clear route to the top for any young player. He can progress from under-10s at Barkers Butts through the Youth, Colts and Emerging sides to the Premiership."

"Both clubs will benefit from this arrangement. We shall come to some sort of gate sharing agreement with Barkers to compensate them for playing their home league games at Coundon Road. I see this as a win situation for both clubs."

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CWN / Sport / Rugby / Coventry RFC / 15 Oct 98

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