Shaw back fit and aiming for fast finish.

Back from a four-month injury lay off number eight Alex Shaw is hoping to quickly recapture his early season form as the Knights approach their final five Championship games of the regular season

Shawsy showed very little sign of rustiness as he made his return from the bench against former employers Nottingham earlier this month with the 28-year-old contributing to the Knights impressive finish at Lady Bay.    

Speaking in the build up to the Knights trip to The Athletic Ground on Saturday, Alex detailed the frustration that comes with injury and his pleasure at being back on the field. “It is great to be back playing, injuries can be a really trying time.

“I was quite fortunate in a way to have a couple of other players who were also out with similar injuries as we could go through the rehabilitation process together and we’re now all back out on the pitch playing which is a positive thing.

“I’m excited to be back playing and hopefully I can get some more game time in the next couple of weeks.”

The Knights have enjoyed some fine victories and agonising defeats since Shaw picked up his shoulder injury in early November; commenting on the side’s form the back-rower says the outlook is only positive. “It’s can be quite difficult to get a full feeling of how we’re performing if you aren’t actually playing, when you’re out there on the pitch you get a sense of how games are flowing a lot better than on the side lines.

“That said I think we’ve turned a corner recently, we are starting to put performances together and, when we do, we look a very dangerous team.

“It is now just about trying to be consistent and making sure that we keep our performance, accuracy and discipline to the highest level going into our last five games.”

It is no secret that the Knights have a challenging end of season run in and, with just five points separating third from sixth, the stakes could hardly be higher.

Saturday sees the Knights take on London Scottish before hosting Yorkshire Carnegie and then a trip to Penzance but Alex says there is little point gazing too far into the future. “It is a bit of a cliché but we have to focus on one game at a time.

“We have to go down to face London Scottish who are on a good run of form and are another team that are fighting for the play-offs and put in a good performance.”

Whilst firmly focussed on the task in hand Alex when questioned about the play-off race Alex conceded that undefeated London Irish are the team to beat but that they are certainly not the only side to watch out for. “London Irish have looked the strongest in this division all season so if you had the choice between finishing third or fourth then third is clearly more beneficial but at the end of the day if your goal is to get promoted, which ours is, you’re probably going to have face them at some point.

“Everything we are doing now is about going out and performing against these tough teams because if we don’t we’re going to be on the wrong side of the scoreboard.”

“I think it’s all going to come down to the final weekend, it used to be that Irish and Carnegie were very comfortable at the top but Carnegie have now lost two in a row which makes the play-off spots even tighter.

“If you look at the gap between third and sixth there is so little in it which just makes it even more important to get results from the last five games whichever way you can.”

 

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Makaafi set to join Coventry next season.

Back-row Latu Makaafi will join National One outfit Coventry Rugby for the 2017/18 campaign.

The 35-year-old former Tongan International has 39 tries in 111 appearances for the Knights and has been a regular fixture since returning to Castle Park from Jersey in the summer of 2014.

Latu played a pivotal role in last season’s play-off final reaching campaign; scoring 18 tries to earn himself a place in the Greene King IPA Championship Dream XV.

Commenting on Makaafi’s departure Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths said. “It will be sad to see Latu go, he has been exemplary since he came back to us from Jersey.

“He had an absolutely stellar season last year highlighted by his selection in the dream team.

“He’s had one or two problems with injuries this year which have held him back slightly but we wish him all the very best for his future career at Coventry.”

Latu remains a Doncaster player until the close of the 2016/17 season.  

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Double threat arrive on dual-reg.

The Knights completed two deadline day signings as Leicester Tigers’ Oli Bryant and Newcastle Falcons’ Zach Kibirige join on dual registration.

The duo are the latest to join the Knights from parent clubs following the arrival of centre Nick Carpenter and prop forward Saba Meunargia prior to last Friday’s transfer deadline. 

Former England U20s stand-off Oli Bryant is already very familiar to Knights fans having featured in Donny colours sporadically over the past three seasons.

Bryant has played a significant role in the Tigers Anglo Welsh Cup squad this season and made his first Tigers start versus Saracens at Allianz Park earlier this month.

Zach Kibirige is a new face at Castle Park and arrives with impressive pedigree. The 22-year old winger has represented England at Under 17, 18 and 20 level and featured for England Sevens in the 2015 European Grand Prix Series. 

A Newcastle Falcons academy product, Zach has been with the club since he was just twelve years old, making his senior debut at 17 and has gone on to make 20 first team appearances, touching down 11 times. The speedster also scored versus the Knights in August’s pre-season defeat. 

Commenting on completing the registrations Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths said. “It is with great pleasure that we announce the loan signings of both Zach and Oli, two players with Premiership experience and who will add strength to our squad for the vital BIG FIVE Championship matches ahead and hopefully another play off campaign.

“Oli is well known to Knights fans of course and was on the opposite side of the fence recently when he appeared in Rotherham colours!

“Zach has an outstanding rugby pedigree and anyone who witnessed his individual try against Bath recently will know that we have another top class finisher in our ranks.

“We are delighted both men wanted to join us for the rest of the season.”

Zach and Oli’s arrival completes the Knights transfer activity for this season and both are eligible for selection this Saturday versus London Scottish.

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Rugby at Castle Park this Saturday.

Doncaster Phoenix 2nd XV provide the live action at Castle Park this weekend as they take on Cleckheaton seconds in the Yorkshire Merit Premiership.

The Super Twos kick off at 14:15 on pitch two and the Lansdowne Suite will be open with the bar fully stocked and refreshments available.

Both of Saturday’s Six Nations games will also be screened live and entry is free of charge.

Scotland v Wales (14:25)

Ireland v France (16:50)

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DKTV | Academy book place in BUCS final.

The Academy progressed to the final of the British Universities Northern Conference [BUCS] Plate final on Wednesday afternoon with a 13-34 victory over Liverpool University. 

The victory was the Academy’s eleventh in a row as they continue to enjoy a fantastic BUCS campaign in what is their inaugural season in the competition. 

The final will take place on March 8th vs Durham and details of the venue and kick off time will be announced once confirmed.

Media Intern Connor Hickinbottom travelled with the team to Merseyside on Wednesday to bring you all the scores plus post match interviews with Man of the Match Jamal Khalil and Captain Buster Keeton. 

Yorkshire Rugby Union Show episode 2

The Yorkshire Rugby Union Show’s February episode is online now and ready for you to watch!
 
In Episode Two it is the Knights turn to face the show’s Dizzy Kicks Challenge, where players must spin around 10 times before trying to hit a conversation from in front of the posts.
 

Sound Simple? Well, watch the show to find out how Dougie Flockhart, Sam Edgerley, Sean Scanlon, Jack Bergmanas, Michael Heaney, Lloyd Hayes, Mat Clark and Paul Jarvis get on. You can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLGJu1kVWgU

The online TV programme is designed to highlight and promote the great and good of rugby union in our County. So also featuring in February’s show are Huddersfield rugby club – the club that developed England International Luther Burrell; Halifax – who are planning to host an LGBT rugby taster day; Rotherham Titans Captain Will Owen; and Yorkshire Carnegie hooker Phil Nilsen.

If you have an idea for the show or want to suggest a local rugby club to feature in a future episode then email the show at yorkshirerushow@gmail.com

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Knights hope to carry Nottingham form forward – Quigley.

Veteran prop Colin Quigley enjoyed a fine night under the Lady Bay lights last Friday as he put in a sixty-minute shift that saw the Knights out score Nottingham by five tries to one and control proceedings upfront.

Following an outstanding 2015/16 campaign Quigs has assumed a lighter workload this season, due largely to the impressive form of fellow tighthead WillGriff John. However, with WillGriff now facing up to four weeks on the side-lines through injury, the Scotsman has wasted no time in reminding the Knights faithful of his quality and says it was brilliant to be back in the groove. “It was really good to be out playing, I’ve waited a long time to get a start; WillGriff has been doing fantastic so I was happy to be back in the three jersey and get a win with the team.

“I always want to be playing the best I can and prove to my teammates that I can still perform to a high quality and I think I did that on Friday; it was a good game to come back into.

“Hopefully now I can keep playing well, take every week as it comes and get some consistency into my game.”

The Knights prevailed 7-29 over the Green and Whites and picked up a bonus point in what was a ninth league win of the season keeping them firmly in the play-off mix but, with the league so close, there is certainly no complacency in the camp. “We can’t really afford to slip up now or we could be in some trouble.

“The difference between third, fourth and fifth is so little and we still need to go to London and Penzance.

“It makes for an interesting end to the season but we are more than capable of finishing in that top four, once you get to the play-offs anything can happen we just need to make sure we’re up there challenging.”

Yesterday the Club announced the arrival of 22-year-old Connacht prop Saba Meunargia on loan till the end of the season and Colin says he’s glad to have another prop in the ranks. “It’s good to bring someone like Saba into the club, we needed another tighthead after WillGriff’s injury so the added competition will hopefully push us to be better and we can help him grow as a player.”

 

 

 

 

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Irish Meunargia gives pack a boost.

The Knights are delighted to announce the arrival of prop forward Saba Meunargia on loan from Connacht Rugby until the end of the season.

The Georgian born front rower comes to Castle Park having enjoyed three successful years in Galway to date.  

The 22-year old made his first team debut in the European Challenge Cup against Bayonne in 2015 and has featured regularly for Connacht Eagles; including versus the Knights in last season’s British and Irish Cup. 

The Knights latest acquisition moved to Ireland from Georgia when he was twelve years old and was quickly identified as a promising player gaining representative honours for Ireland Schools and Ireland U19s.

Meunargia is the second reinforcement to the squad this week following yesterday’s announcement of the dual-registration of midfielder Nick Carpenter from Bristol Rugby and Clive Griffiths is equally as pleased to have captured Saba’s services in the face of mounting unavailability. “Saba is the first Georgian Irishman I have ever met which is unique in itself and he is another very good acquisition.

“Robin Hislop is now out for the season with a neck injury, WillGriff John has possibly another four weeks out and Richard List came off as a precaution on Friday night so we have been left short upfront.

“We needed to bolster the position quickly and Connacht have kindly let us have Saba till the end of the season due to the good relationship we built up with them.

“Saba provides us with some fantastic cover at prop and will also put some pressure on the other lads which is no bad thing.”

Meunargia began training with the Knights this week and will be eligible for selection against London Scottish next weekend.

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Sky’s the limit for the Knights and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

The Knights scrummed down at Doncaster Sheffield Airport where bosses are getting ready to welcome rugby fans travelling ahead of England’s trip to Dublin in the Six Nations on March 18th.

The Knights paid a visit to Doncaster Sheffield Airport [DSA] yesterday at the start of a new partnership to promote the airport’s new and expanded destinations across Europe and the rest of the world.

Last month, DSA announced its best year ever, with more than 1.2 million passengers travelling to 43 destinations in 2016. The achievement coincides with the launch of 11 new routes with airline Flybe including to popular rugby capitals Paris and Dublin as well as Jersey who the Knights welcome to Castle Park on April 8th.

Steve Gill, chief executive of Doncaster Sheffield Airport said: “It was great to welcome the players from Doncaster Knights to Doncaster Sheffield Airport. We know that there are a lot rugby fans in Yorkshire and we are delighted that they can reach Dublin for the big Six Nation’s game directly from Doncaster Sheffield Airport with Flybe.

The fifth-round match between Ireland and England will be the last match of the 2017 six nations tournament.

Doncaster Knights Marketing and Communications Manager Michael Casey, said: “It is fantastic that rugby fans can fly from our local airport directly to Dublin for what could prove to be this year’s title deciding clash.

“Last season the Knights flew from Doncaster Sheffield Airport to our away fixture with Jersey and are looking forward to working with DSA ahead of this year’s home game with the Islanders on April 8th. We hope that we can encourage many travelling fans to come to Castle Park and show their support in what should be a great game.”

Flybe operate Dublin and Jersey routes out of Doncaster Sheffield Airport along with Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Alicante, Malaga, Palma, Faro and Newquay.

For further information about the destinations reached from Doncaster Sheffield Airport visit www.flydsa.co.uk

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