Phoenix begin prep for National league campaign.

Doncaster Phoenix will compete in the fifth tier of English Rugby Union this season following successive promotions to National Three North.

The rise means that the Phoenix are now competing at the highest level in the Club’s history and will face off against some of the strongest non-professional sides in the North.

Speaking ahead of what promises to be a tough and uncompromising pre-season Head Coach Ants Posa gave an overview of what he expects from the upcoming campaign.

“We start next Tuesday (July 4th) at Hill House School and will then continue on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays leading into the season which starts in September.

“There are a few sevens tournaments throughout July that we will work towards before the pre-season games start.

“So far we have a fixture organised away versus Malton and Norton for August 20th then we play Ilkley in the Yorkshire Cup at Castle Park on August 27th.”

“We have a couple of new boys coming in but we have had a real focus on developing our own and bringing our youth through which puts more pressure on us as coaches but we relish that challenge.

“The players that have joined us are predominantly ex DRFC mini/juniors who are coming back home if you like.

“Firstly, Sam Bottomley who has been playing for Harrogate since leaving the juniors here. His dad is still a big part of the Club and played for Dragons for countless seasons so it is great to have Sam back.

“Sam is going to take care of our strength and conditioning through pre-season and he has already put boys on various programmes and he’s looking very keen.”

Prior to taking over at Phoenix Posa worked in National Three North with Beverley RUFC so is very familiar with the standard and knows exactly what his new charges can expect in 2016/17.

“Stating the obvious, it is a very tough league, there are no easy games and we will really need to earn every win.

“If we were completely honest with ourselves there were games last season when we didn’t play that well but still won and I don’t think that will be the case at all this year.

“We will set our standards high but it is a very tough competition, there are some big sides with very serious recruitment plans but we just need to get to that level and get their as quickly as possible.

“It’s the highest standard that Phoenix have ever played but that was the case last year and we rose to the challenge so we are hoping to do the same again.

“We are really excited for another season full of big challenges but our aim, as it always has been, is to cement that rugby pathway and make it as transparent as possible for everybody who wants to develop their rugby at Castle Park.”

Keep an eye on drfc.co.uk or the Doncaster Phoenix website for more news from the Phoenix throughout the season.

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Knights to face international opposition this pre-season.

The Knights will play a trio of pre-season fixtures in their preparations for the 2016/17 campaign as we announce that Darlington Mowden Park and the Canadian National side will visit Castle Park this August.

The Club has already confirmed a pre-season opener against Northern Premiership heavyweights Newcastle Falcons on August 13th at Kingston Park but are now delighted to confirm two exciting home fixtures.

Canada will grace the Castle Park turf on August 20th [Subject to World Rugby clearance] as part of a three match series that will see the Canucks also face Ulster Ravens and Glasgow Warriors. The team will be comprised of 28 players selected from the Canadian Rugby Championship – the country’s flagship domestic regional competition.

The Knights final test of pre-season will be against another of the North East’s rugby powerhouses; Darlington Mowden Park of National One on August 27th.

Commenting on the Knights pre-season opener Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths said.  “The double-header at Falcons will be a great start to the season with Rotherham kicking off after us on the same day.

“We enjoy good links with Newcastle as seen with the dual-registration of lock Glen Young; hopefully Chugga will play in the second game versus Rotherham!  

“It will be the toughest start to a pre season we’ve have had for some time!”

Griff added. “I am delighted to welcome an International team to Castle Park for the first time since Holland played here many seasons ago.

“I have fond memories of setting up RGC 1404 in North Wales with the Canadian and Welsh Unions. The Churchill Cups and the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand are particular highlights as well as the flights to and from Canada via Manchester, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Zurich, Singapore, New York, Chicago and Toronto! I thought I was on a World Tour.

“I remember going for a run one day and being advised, “If you see a bear stop running, they will be probably more scared of you, unless they have cubs, but it’s not the bears you need worry about, it’s the Cougars! They stalk you!” I soon found my way to the treadmill in the gymnasium!

“In all seriousness though I am relishing facing a tough Canada side in our first home fixture of pre-season.”

Speaking on the Knights final challenge before the 2016/17 season begins in earnest Clive said.  “Darlington Mowden Park will arrive with great ambition and confidence for the new season and will expect to upset the applecart a week before the start of the season proper.

“Both sides will want to go in to their respective campaigns a week later with a good performance and a win.”

Both of the Knights home pre-season games are included as part of the 2016/17 Season Ticket and you can get your season ticket now – further details here.

Knights Pre-season schedule (Kick offs TBC):

August 13th – vs Newcastle Falcons, (Kingston Park).

August 20th – vs Canada, (Castle Park).

August 27th – vs Darlington Mowden Park, (Castle Park).

 

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10 days to go – Season ticket early bird savings!

There are just 10 days left of the Knights 2016/17 Early Bird Season Ticket offer.

If you have not bought your 2016/17 Season ticket yet, do not delay as there are just ten days remaining to take advantage of early bird savings.

As the Knights look to follow up their record-breaking 2015/16 campaign we are urging fans to purchase their season ticket for the new campaign before the early bird discount ends on June 30th.

Fans can take advantage of savings of up to 10% by purchasing before next Thursday’s deadline.

In addition to the savings you can also split the cost of the ticket over three monthly instalments and secure your seat from last season in the DML Stand (where applicable) by purchasing before the deadline.

For an application form and more information on how to get your 2016/17 season ticket click here.

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South Yorkshire Coaching Development at Castle Park.

Castle Park hosts England Rugby certified coaching day, open to all coaches wishing to develop their knowledge base and qualifications.

This programme has been designed specifically for those who wish to develop their coaching of rugby union, with opportunities to develop for all levels of coach.

Details:

Course: South Yorkshire Conference
Date: Sun 26th June
Venue: Doncaster Knights RUFC
Times: 9am – 4pm

Programme for the day:

9am – meet & tea/coffee
9.15am – Rugby Ready or game planning or Coaching through games.
12.00pm – Lunch (if required to include age grade review update/discussion)
12.45pm – Scrum Factory or Player Profiling or Continuity post contact
4pm – finish

Price:

£10 including all resources and lunch

Book now via the link & entering the postcode DN2 5QB.

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Welcome to the league: The 16/17 newcomers.

Did you know that the Knights 2015/16, from week one of pre-season to the playoff final at Ashton Gate, lasted a total of 49 weeks!

As a result, it is hardly surprising that the boys are currently fully focused on enjoying some hard-earned R&R. So, whilst we wait patiently for rugby’s return what better opportunity to take a look at next season’s new boys; London Irish and Richmond RFC.  

Coming down from the Premiership are London Irish, a side most fans will already be very familiar with and who boast a plethora of top class talent. International stars such as World Cup winning All Black Ben Franks, England internationals Shane Geraghty, Topsy Ojo and Luke Narroway are but a few of talents in the Exiles ranks.

Irish finished bottom of the Premiership last season with seven fewer points than second bottom Newcastle Falcons. Irish managed four wins across their disappointing campaign, all at their Madejski Stadium home, against Northampton, Newcastle, Worcester and Gloucester.

The off-season saw a couple of the Exiles big names depart including 2013 British & Irish Lion tourist Sean Maitland and multiple Tongan international prop Halani Aulika who have left for Saracens and Sale respectively. However, Irish have brought in some impressive new signings also including Scottish international full back Greig Tonks who joined late last term and Sebastian De Chaves from Leicester Tigers.

Irish, much like many of the demoted Premiership sides before them, will seek an immediate return to the top flight next term and are sure to be many people’s pre-season favourites to do just that. Speaking in an interview with the Reading Chronicle this month, mainstay winger Topsy Ojo stated. “I’m fully committed to rectifying what went wrong last season and I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure we get back to the Premiership at the first attempt.”

Also joining Championship party for next season are West-Londoners Richmond RFC who will by playing at the highest level since dropping to the ninth tier of English Rugby after entering administration almost 20-years-ago.

It was not a simple decision for Richmond to accept promotion and only after plenty of hesitation was the elevation accepted.

In a comment made by the Club in April Richmond stated. “After extensive consultation with members and players, and no little soul-searching, the club has decided that it will accept promotion to the second tier of English rugby, 17 years after its brief history as a professional club ended in administration, removal from the leagues and demotion to the ninth tier of the game.”

Richmond will remain a part-time amateur side next season and claim no professional players will pull on the club’s jersey which will certainly make next season extremely challenging, competing against largely full time professional players in the Championship next season.

Not too much is known of the player movements for Richmond next season, however, they are sure to be bounded by having achieved against the odds and proudly wearing their underdog tag.

 

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Sportsman’s Dinner – Rory Underwood.

Sportsman’s Dinner – an evening with Rory Underwood, September 2nd 2016.

On September 2nd we welcome English rugby’s highest ever try-scorer, Rory Underwood, to Castle Park for an evening of entertainment.

The event will commence at 7pm with a two course meal followed by entertainment from the former Leicester, England and Lions winger.

The cost of the evening is £30 per head with tables 12 available for £300.

We anticipate this event will be very popular so please do not hesitate to book spaces if you wish to attend.

For further information please email events@castle-park.co.uk or call Rachael on 01302 831388.

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Position vacant – Head of Performance Analysis

Hours: Full Time 

Term: Immediate Start – June 2017

Salary: Competitive (To be discussed at Interview)

Location: Castle Park Stadium, Doncaster and other locations within the United Kingdom as required.

 

Job description:

To Lead the Performance Analysis support to the Doncaster Knights Professional staff/squad in the Greene King IPA Championship and British and Irish Cup by:

  • Providing pre-game analysis on each weeks opposition, coding previous games for player and coach perusal. Then in conjunction with coaching staff, producing opposition previews/statistics for feedback in team meetings.
  • Live Coding and providing feedback during all 1st team fixtures, providing a coded timeline with multiple video angles to coaching staff.
  • Post-Game analysis of individual and specific areas of team play in line with KPI’s as defined by the Coaching Staff.
  • Post-Game review analysis to be completed in conjunction with coaching staff for team feedback.
  • Filming and coding of all team and units training sessions.
  • Arranging provision and operating GPS equipment providing statistical feedback to support S&C and Medical Staff.
  • Supplying video evidence of injury incidents to medical staff.
  • Recruiting and training undergraduate/post-graduate interns from local universities.
  • Maintaining and updating a database of all statistics and video in the Performance Analysis suite at Castle Park.
  • Operating and administering an online file-sharing platform for player and coach use.
  • Continually developing own practice through study of the latest research and CPD opportunities.
  • Any other duties as agreed with the DOR.

 

Person Specification:

Essential:

  • At least 2 years experience working within a professional sport environment (Preferably Rugby Union/League).
  • Successfully completed an Undergraduate Sport Science/Performance Analysis related degree (minimum 2:1)
  • Undertaken training in the field of performance analysis either within a degree programme, or external course.
  • Thorough working knowledge and experience in using SportsCode analysis software.
  • Strong understanding of Microsoft Office, Apple iWork and IBM SPSS software.
  • Strong understanding of Video file formats and conversion tools.
  • Strong Understanding of Rugby Union

Desirable:

  • Successfully completed an MSc in Performance Analysis/Sport Coaching/Science related subject.
  • Completed RFU coaching/refereeing certificates and CPD.
  • Previous experience as lead performance analyst with a professional sports team. (Preferably Rugby Union/League)

To apply, please send a CV and Cover Letter to James@mullins-family.co.uk the closing date for applications is Friday 17th June, applicants will only be contacted if successful in gaining an interview.

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Knights boost front row options with Hislop addition.

The Knights have bolstered their front row options with the addition of loose-head prop Robin Hislop from Rotherham Titans.

Hislop will compete with Rich List and Joe Sproston for the number one jersey in a very competitive looking Knights front row.

The 24-year old arrives following a three-year stint at Clifton Lane, featuring in Rotherham’s play-off campaigns in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

The young Scot developed through the academy of Edinburgh Rugby and, having advanced through the academy set up, made a handful or first team appearances in the European Cup and Pro12 before a broken leg slowed his progress. In November 2013 Robin went on loan with the Titans before making the move permanent ahead of the 2014/15 season.

‘Bomber’ collected age grade honours with Scotland at Under 17, 18 and 20 level eventually going on to Captain the U20s. He also appeared for ‘Scotland Clubs’ versus ‘Ireland Clubs’ in 2013. 

Speaking on his move to Castle Park Robin commented. “I’m delighted to be joining Doncaster.

“They’ve obviously just had a really good season so there is a real buzz and hunger about the place to kick on into next season and I’m really looking forward to getting started and meeting up with the lads” 

“The Knights have one of the best forward packs in the league, so I am looking forward to being a part of that and hopefully adding to it.” 

Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths added. “We are very fortunate to secure the services of Robin.

“He will bring a sharp competitive edge to our front row play and provide healthy competition for places.

“Robin knows the Championship inside out and gives valuable experience up front as well as knowing all about opposition territory.” 

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