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Gnr Senitiki Nayalo (7 Para RHA) is putting months on the sidelines behind him as the countdown continues towards the 2022 Inter-Services Championship.

Gnr Nayalo had a strong 2021 Championship campaign with Coventry, finding his way to the whitewash four times – second highest for the club – and putting in a string of impressive performances to help the blue and whites achieve a top-five finish.

This season has been a different story, with Coventry on a roller-coaster run of results and Gnr Nayalo also having the bitter-sweet experience of scoring in the Round 2 loss away to Ampthill which also put him onto the sidelines until the new year.

But now, with an appearance off the bench against Cornish Pirates followed by a start against Nottingham, Gnr Nayalo is happy to be back on the pitch, even if victories have remained elusive.

“I’m really happy to be back playing,” the big back rower says. “It’s been frustrating with injuries, one after the other, and I had been looking forward to the season and continuing where I left off last season.

“Last season was my best season, and it was frustrating there was no Inter-Services because I felt I was on the right track. I’d been scoring tries and helping the boys getting wins.”

Image © John Coles

With Coventry hosting the RAF on Wednesday evening Gnr Nayalo is wanting more minutes as well as the chance to do some homework – “I’ll get to see a little bit of their structure before Inter-Services!” – before hopefully adding to his tally of Army caps when the flagship tournament comes around in March and April.

Gnr Nayalo, whose last appearance in red was against Coventry in March 2020, has been keeping an eye on the Army Men’s results in recent weeks, and believes that an exciting squad is being assembled by Head Coach, Capt Mal Roberts (RLC).

“Mal’s been in touch with me and it’s been good to see the guys being brought in to play for the Army team,” Gnr Nayalo says. “The guys coming in will be putting pressure on us more experienced players to have to play well to get into the team. We have to show what we can do to deserve a place in the starting line-up.”

Image © Alligin Photography, Lee Crabb

Before then there is the small matter of helping Coventry climb the table, with Gnr Nayalo saying that he has enjoyed his three years so far at Butts Park Arena.

“I’ve benefitted so much and learned a lot,” he says. “I did enjoy being at London Irish and Edinburgh, but Coventry is the best fit for me.”

Tickets for the 2022 Inter-Services Championship matches against the RAF (March 26th, Kingsholm) and the Navy (April 30th, Twickenham) are now available.

CLICK HERE for information about the RAF game

CLICK HERE for information about Army Navy

Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks.  Header and Featured Images © Alligin Photography, Lee Crabb