With the rugby season just over a month away, Coventry have added some vital experience to their squad with the signing of former Leicester Tiger Will Johnson.
The back-row forward, brother of England legend Martin, has signed up at the National One club for two years having spent the last few weeks training with his new team-mates.
The 32-year-old's recruitment is a coup for Coventry head coach Mike Umaga, who has had considerable success attracting young talent to the club this summer but needed an 'old head' to underpin his resources.
He has immediately installed the openside as captain for the new term as Johnson takes over from Hendry Rheeders.
Johnson certainly brings know-how, having made 210 appearances for Leicester spanning 16 years and the golden era where the Tigers won seven trophies in four years. Although the international recognition that char-acterised his brother's career eluded him, the flanker has a reputation as a rugged and determined operator at Premiership level.
Umaga believes he has found the 'missing ingredient' for his youthful squad and explained his recruitment policy: "In building the 2006-07 squad, we held on to those players from last year who had the necessary ability and character," he said.
"To complement these, we have brought in a number of younger talented and enthusiastic players but Will Johnson brings the missing ingredient to the squad, adding a wealth of presence and experience, which we were lacking at times last year"
Following the departure of established stars such as Ben Gulliver and Kisi Pulu, John-son's arrival is a timely boost to a side that struggled for consistency in the previous campaign.
For his part Johnson has been pleasantly surprised by what he has found at Butts Park and said conditioning coach Darren Grewcock, a former Leicester employee, had been instrumental in bringing him to the club: "I am really excited about this new challenge," he said.
"Having made the decision to move away from Tigers I was considering a move abroad but following a chance meeting with Darren I started training with the Cov squad,
really just to keep fit. Once I got to know the coaches and players it was obvious that the skill levels are much the same as at Tigers and the organisation is first class. This move is a fresh challenge and especially as captain, I'm genuinely excited." n Pertemps Bees have called off their pre-season friendly against Stourbridge which was scheduled to be played at Sharmans Cross Road on Saturday August 5.
The match will not take place because recent hot weather has left the pitch in a danegrous condition.
"The hot weather has left the ground bone hard and, having spoken to Stourbridge, we have decided that there would be too great a risk of someone suffering a serious injury," said Phil Maynard, Bees' director of rugby.
"We considered moving the game to Portway but, having inspected the pitches there, they are also too hard for a full contact game to be played."
Bees' next scheduled pre-season friendly is against Blackheath at Sharmans Cross Road on Saturday August 12 (3pm).