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Leeds (22) 36  Coventry (0) 12

Coventry rugby club chairman Keith Fairbrother blasted his players after Sunday's defeat at Leeds. He branded the first half performance a 'disgrace' and said he would come down heavily on players not prepared to give 100 per cent commitment to the cause.

The former England prop forward also took a sideswipe at director of rugby Derek Eves' policy of using players on a rota basis.

Fairbrother clearly believes a rota system, as used by Chelsea in the soccer premiership, is a managerial cop out. A player of the old school he believes you decide on your best team and then play it week in week out to build a camaraderie and team spirit.

After the 36-12 defeat against Leeds Fairbrother stormed:

"The Coventry officials were ashamed of the effort and skills in the first half.

"The players must realise they must play for 80 minutes with fire and spirit. There is no excuse for lack of effort or tiredness - the Coventry jersey is too precious.

"There will be no more rotas and selection will be on merit. Selected players must achieve mental toughness - there will be no more talk of tiredness. The message to the players is if it gets too hot, get out of the kitchen."

The chairman said that, subject to fitness, prop-forward Alan Sharp, full back Wayne Kilford and scrum half Martin Wallwork would be dropped - and there could be others.

Fairbrother also announced that the club has registered Tongan winger Mateiki Matti, a Rugby League international. He said the club was also close to signing a second row forward, two back row forwards, a half-back and two wingers to stoke up the competition in every area of the team.

Coventry were 22-0 behind at half-time after conceding two tries in the opening nine minutes. They steadied the ship in the second half, but never came close to pulling the match out of the fire.

Richie Robinson and Andy Smallwood scored tries, one of which was converted by Luis Criscuolo. Leeds' tries were scored by Fourie (2), Edwards and Sailor. Tuipolotu converted two and kicked four penalty goals.

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Kilford; McAdam, Minshull, Robinson, Smallwood; Gough (Criscuolo 54 mins), Wallwork; Sharp, Addleton, Kerr, Fountaine, Whitley, Crofts (Ayres 71 mins), Horrobin, Eves

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CWN / Sport / Rugby / Coventry RFC / 22 Nov 98

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