Mat Clark returns as Knights make changes for Jersey trip

Doncaster travel to Jersey tomorrow looking to bounce back to winning ways, after defeats to Nottingham and Ealing Trailfinders, while the Reds have won just one of their last four matches.

The Knights lost by just two points in their last match against Nottingham at Castle Park, however Doncaster have produced several impressive performances on the road this season as they make their trip to Jersey.

In 2019, Clive Griffiths’ side have secured wins away at Coventry and Hartpury, while also leading at Ealing Trailfinders after 67 minutes.

Jersey defeated Yorkshire Carnegie in their last match with an impressive 28-10 win, however that was the Reds first victory since the 19th January.

Doncaster have made several changes to the side that lost in Round 15 of the GK IPA Championship with Steve McColl, Mat Clark, Ben Hunter and Rory Pitman being named in the starting line-up.

New signing Charlie Beech makes the bench as he looks for his debut in a Doncaster shirt.

Doncaster have managed to claim the victory twice in Jersey, most recently at the beginning of last season as the Knights came away with a 26-24 win. Although the hosts have triumphed on three occasions at the Stade Santander International, along with two draws in the 2015/16 campaign, both also on the Island.

The overall proceedings see the Reds lead the way with seven victories to Doncaster’s five and two draws.

Starting XV: 15. McColl 14. Jarvis 13. Hayes 12. Clark 11. Wilson 10. Olver 9. James 1. Hislop 2. Hunter 3. Quigley 4. Tyrell 5. Hicks 6. Stedman 7. Calladine © 8. Pitman

Replacements: 16. Mayhew 17. Beech 18. Sproston 19. Challinor 20. Jones 21. Polataivao 22. Foley

Cardiff Blues centre Jack Roberts signs for next season

The Knights have signed Jack Roberts as the second arrival ahead of the 2019/20 season.

The centre will join from Cardiff Blues in the summer after spending two seasons at the Welsh club.

The 26-year-old has Premiership experience with Leicester Tigers as he spent three seasons at the midlands club, making 36 appearances during his time at Welford Road.

The Welshman started his career at the Scarlets academy before moving to Llandovery and then to Championship side Rotherham Titans. Jack spent one season at the South Yorkshire side, making 29 appearances in all competitions and showed his talents and attributes that lead him to the Premiership with a move to Leicester Tigers in 2014.

Jack praised the ambition of the club in his decision to switch back to the Championship.

“I’m really looking forward to joining Doncaster next year. I’m excited by the potential of this Doncaster squad. I have good friends there and they’ve always spoken very highly of the club and culture that’s been built.

I can’t wait to get started and test myself in the championship again.”

Competition time for Jersey game

Competiton time for our match on Friday with Jersey Reds!

Click above to comment your guesses! 

Correctly guess the first Knights scorer and how many points Doncaster will score for a FREE pitcher of lager at our next home game.

The Knights are back in action at Castle Park on 9th March against Bedford Blues. Tickets are available to buy here – https://tinyurl.com/y2s8hs2c

 

Sam Olver signs for the next two seasons

Sam Olver has signed a contract for the next two seasons with Doncaster Knights.

The fly-half joined in December on loan from Ealing Trailfinders, where he made four appearances.

Sam arrived at Ealing in the summer from Worcester Warriors, where he featured 14 times, scoring 61 points.

The 24-year-old has represented England at under 18s and 20s level and played in four tests for the England U20s during their 2014 Six Nations Championship.

Sam started his professional rugby career at Premiership side Northampton Saints where he earned a professional contract at Franklin’s Gardens in March 2013 and helped Northampton Wanderers to three Aviva A League finals in four seasons, whilst also making 14 first team appearances.  

DoR Clive Griffiths was very pleased Sam has decided to stay at Castle Park until the end of the 2020/21 season.

“I would like to thank Ben Ward and Ealing Trailfinders for being ultra-professional in the way they have conducted this business.

We have seen what Sam can do for us in the games he has played already and it is nice to have that extra experience to go with Kurt Morath and Charlie Foley in the number 10 jersey.”

Sam only joined at couple of months ago, but has enjoyed his time at Castle Park.

“I have really enjoyed my spell here so far, when i was offered the chance to stay i didn’t think twice about it, the facilities and set up here are great and I’ve settled in well, I am now looking forward to the next two seasons at the club.

There is a good group of players and coaches, so there are a lot of positives factors wanting me to stay here.”

Tom James stays with the Knights for next season

The club are delighted to announce that Tom James has signed for the Knights for next season.

The scrum-half has been in impressive form this season scoring 11 tries already from 19 starting appearances.

Tom arrived at Castle Park in the summer of 2017 from fellow Championship side Bedford Blues.

The 25-year-old former England Students player joined the Knights following an impressive debut season in the Championship with Bedford making 17 appearances and scoring twice; including one against Doncaster. 

Prior to his arrival at Goldington Road James was a key performer for National League One outfit Loughborough Students, captaining the side and touching down for ten tries to earn an England Students call up at the end of 2015/16.

DoR Clive Griffiths was very pleased to keep Tom at Castle Park for next season.

“In the face of interest from Premiership and Championship clubs Tom has remained loyal to us and am delighted that he will continue his upward curve as a player with us next season.

His form towards the end of last season and this season has been outstanding, he one of the stand out scrum-halfs in the Championship and we are very lucky to have retained his services for another season.”

Tom gave his reasons behind staying at the club for another year.

“I have probably had my most enjoyable season to date, I’ve played the majority of games and I am excited to stay here and Doncaster is the best place for me to continue improving.

We have the players here and arriving to be pushing for the top four next season and I want to be a part of that goal.”

Match Preview: The Knights travel to Jersey

Doncaster travel to Jersey on Friday looking to bounce back to winning ways, after defeats to Nottingham and Ealing Trailfinders, while the Reds have won just one of their last four matches.

The Knights have tasted victory at the Stade Santander International ground three times before, most recently at the beginning of last season with a 24-26 win in September 2017. 

The two sides have managed to draw twice in Jersey, both in the 2015/16 season, one in the British and Irish cup while the other was a 17-17 draw in January 2016.

Back in 2013, Doncaster were on the end of a defeat for the first time on the Island after a 13-10 lose.

In the overall proceedings though, it is the Jersey Reds that lead the way with seven victories to the Knights five wins and two draws.

However, Doncaster will have the confidence they have only lost twice away from Castle Park against the Reds in a league fixture. 

Will Owen departs for Coventry

Will Owen has left Doncaster Knights in a switch to Coventry.

The centre departs with immediate effect to the fellow Championship side. 

The 25-year-old arrived at Castle Park ahead of the 2017/18 season with an abundance of Championship experience having spent two seasons with Birmingham Moseley making over fifty appearances before signing with Rotherham Titans.

Prior to signing at Billesley Common, Owen had been a member of the academy at Newport Gwent Dragons. Whilst there he also played briefly for Ebbw Vale and Cross Keys in the Welsh Premiership.

Will managed nine tries in only 16 starts in his first campaign at the club and after returning this season from injury in early November went on to score three tries during the Championship Cup. 

The Coventry-born player made seven appearances this season, however suffered a hand injury in Doncaster’s win at Hartpury last month.

We wish Will all the best…until he faces the Knights of course! 

Doncaster sign Cov prop Charlie Beech

The Knights have strengthened their squad with the arrival of Coventry prop Charlie Beech, on a two-year contract.

The 31-year-old began his career at Northampton Saints after coming through their academy, before he moved onto Wasps. During his spell there he made 31 appearances as well as his Premiership debut, before moving to Bath.

Charlie also has International experience after representing England at Under-19 and Under-20 levels, as he featured at the 2007 Six Nations for the latter age group.

In 2013, the tighthead prop signed for Yorkshire Carnegie, where he made 96 appearances, scoring 11 tries.

Charlie arrives at Castle Park from Coventry, who he signed for in the summer and made 19 appearances before his move to South Yorkshire.

The 6’1 prop was pleased to have joined the Knights and is eager to help the side push up the table this season.

“I am joining Donny because it is a team i’ve played against many times and have always respected, i get along with the lads and know a few before i joined. The set up is great, my family is up here so when the move came i grabbed it with both hands.

I aim to settled in and help the side as much as i can this campaign and push on to next season.” 

Griff was delighted to sign Charlie until the end of the 2021/22 season.

“Charlie will bring much needed experience to our front row, he has tasted life in the Premiership and with his ability to play both sides of the scrum he will be a welcome addition.

It is an advantage that we can take him from his contract with Coventry and he can settle in now and hit the ground running when the rugby starts in pre-season.”

Charlie will be in contention for his debut in Donaster’s match with Jersey Reds tomorrow.

Challinor continues with the Knights for another season

Matt Challinor has re-signed to Doncaster Knights until the end of the 2019/20 season.

Club Captain and lock forward Matt Challinor has been one of the Knights leading performers ever since arriving at Castle Park from fierce rivals Rotherham Titans in 2010 and has made 235 appearances for Doncaster.

Matt was the stand out player in the Knights promotion winning 2013/14 campaign, starting every single game, winning the Players’ Player of the Season and being selected in The Rugby Paper’s Team of the Year. 

The talismanic lock has continued to be a cornerstone of the Knights pack and has seen a number of second-row partners come and go whilst standing firm in the number four jersey.

The forward started twenty-two fixtures in the 2016/17 campaign and featured in all, but two Championship games last season. The 34-year-old has now reached a legendary landmark of over a double century of appearances in a Donny shirt.

The second row gave his reasons for staying at Castle Park for another season.

“I have been here a long time it will be my tenth season, I love the place, the facilities, the supporters, the players, the coaching staff are all great and it is something I am familiar with.

How the club is ran, set up and developed in my time here was another factor in staying, it is moving forward all the time and I am excited to see what the 2019/20 season can bring.”

DoR Clive Griffiths was delighted to keep the club stalwart for next season.

“The warhorse continues, he defies the years and again he has been one of the most consistent performers and you can count on his durability.

He has been an ever presence in the team and rarely missing through injury or illness, he is such a stalwart of the club both on and off the field, his fitness levels are outstanding and like a good wine he gets better every year, so there was no hesitation in keeping Chall for next season.”

DKTV | Tom Hicks: ‘Games with Jersey are always quite close.’

 

Tom Hicks returned to the Doncaster side on February 16th against Nottingham after recovering from a HIA injury he sustained in early October.

The forward played for the full 80 minutes and was pleased to back out playing at Castle Park.

“It has been a dark couple of months really with the concussion I’ve had, but it was great to get out there with the boys after spending far too long in the stands the last couple of weeks.”

Doncaster face Jersey this Friday and Tom believes the side can take confidence from their past away results this season.

You can watch more interviews, post-match reaction and game highlights by subscribing to our DKTV YouTube Channel!

Matt Smith will be the first new signing of the 2019/20 season

Matt Smith will be the first new addition of the 2019/20 season for the club.

The second row has signed a one-year-contract with Doncaster as he makes the move to South Yorkshire, after over 100 league appearances for Yorkshire Carnegie.

The 29-year-old came through the Carnegie academy after studying at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC) for a degree in Sports Conditioning, Rehabilitation and Massage.

In his first two seasons he made over 40 appearances and was a key player in the 2013-14 season as the Leeds based side made it through to the Play Offs and the British and Irish Cup Final. 

The lock is also forwards coach at National One league side Rotherham Titans and has made 19 appearances this campaign for Yorkshire Carnegie.

Matt is delighted to join Doncaster at the start of next season and praised the ambition of the club.

“The vision that Clive and the coaches sold to me about where the club want to go and the squad they are putting together was a big pull.  Every time I have played there the atmosphere has been second to none and it will great to play with that support behind you every week.”

Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths was pleased to make the first new signing of the 2019/20 season already.

“He is one of the best line out specialists in the Championship, he is a line out caller and in that respect he will add immensely to the current squad.

I am absolutely delighted that he has seen Doncaster Knights as a new challenge for him and something to rejuvenate his career as well.”