TEAM NEWS | Matt Smith returns with seven changes for Doncaster

Doncaster have made several changes for their home fixture with London Scottish tomorrow.

The Knights are aiming for consecutive home league wins for the first time this season, but have been forced into a number of changes due to injuries sustained in the defeat at Ampthill.

Tomorrow’s opposition London Scottish arrive at Castle Park on the back of two defeats and only one win in their last five. However Graham Steadman’s side have secured eight bonus points in the 2019/20 Championship campaign so far.

Doncaster haven’t been defeated at Castle Park by the Exiles since 2014, although their last four wins have all been by a maximum of a nine point margin.

Scottish have also only won two of their previous five away matches, but sit three points above the Knights in table making the encounter hugely important for both sides.

Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths has had his injury woes after four players have been ruled out after last weekend against Ampthill. Howard Packman (ribs), Ollie Stedman (ankle), Tom James (shoulder) and Matt Challinor (knee) are all unavailable for the fixture.

Marc Thomas is now match fit after being ill last Saturday, while Matt Smith makes his return to the side after recovering from a neck injury sustained in October.

Dougie Flockhart (calf), Pete Lucock (knee) and Sam Jones (HIA) are also injured for the game, with Tom Hicks is still regaining his fitness on his route back from a HIA.

There has been seven changes to the starting line up that played at Dillingham Park. Rory Pitman, Fotu Lokotui and Curtis Wilson return, while Academy star Sam Pocklington is set for his first XV appearance for the Knights. Jack Roberts and Kyle Evans both start after scoring off the bench last week.

Amongst the replacements, Joe Sproston will make his 100th appearance should he play. Whilst Steve McColl could reach the 50 landmark if he is substituted on.

New signing Guido Volpi only arrived at Castle Park yesterday, but has already been named on the bench. Meanwhile Reiss Cullen could make his first appearance since October for the Knights.

 

KNIGHTS XV: 15. Cameron Cowell 14. Kyle Evans 13. Jack Roberts 12. Charlie Foley 11. Curtis Wilson 10. Sam Olver 9. Sam Pocklington 1. Robin Hislop 2. Ben Hunter 3. Colin Quigley 4. Rory Pitman 5. Matt Smith 6. Fotu Lokotui 7. Wian Conradie 8. Tom Calladine (c)

Replacements: 16. Will Holling 17. Marc Thomas 18. Joe Sproston 19. Morgan Eames 20. Guido Volpi 21. Reiss Cullen 22. Steve McColl 23. Lloyd Hayes

Parking this Saturday for London Scottish fixture

This Saturday the Knights return to Castle Park aiming to secure a second home win in a row.

Due to the Woodside car parking area being in a similar situation as the last match there will be alternative parking at Outwood academy as well as Lower Danum School on St Leger Way, which will also be opened for parking on from 11am.

Tickets for Doncaster’s game with London Scottish can be purchased here – https://drfc.cloudvenue.co.uk/home .

Togel and the Knights agree sponsorship deal for this season

The club are delighted that Togel Contractors will continue to be a sponsor of the club for the 2019/20 season.

Rob Leggott, Managing Director of the construction company has been involved with Doncaster Knights for several years and was delighted to remain a part of our commercial network for this season.

“Togel are excited to be sponsoring the Knights for another Season, let 2020 be a successful year for business & sport. Building a solid future alongside the Knights ”

While Sales & Marketing Coordinator Rachel Morse added:

“Here at Togel we are keen to support local teams and we are really proud to sponsor the Knights again this season. We are always looking to build new relationships, so look out for our banner above the clubhouse. Good luck for the upcoming season, Togel are right behind you!”

Commercial Manager, Michael Casey, was pleased the long standing partnership will continue for 2020.

“Togel have been supporters of the club for several years now and their connection with the Doncaster Knights is intrinsic and multifaceted.

Togel do so much more than sponsor & support the Knights at Castle Park. Rob coaches in the mini junior section where his children play & Doncaster players, past and present, have received training and even full time employment with Togel, which really shows the strength of the partnership and the support they have for our team.

Working alongside a business with such strong ethics and values is a pleasure and I look forward to continuing our partnership work in 2020.”

If you are interested in any refurbishment, bespoke joinery, design and building or maintenance services then head to Togel’s website at https://togel.co.uk/.

 

DKTV | Joe Sproston recalls ‘incredible’ first season ahead of 100th appearance

Joe Sproston is set for his 100th appearance for the Knights, if he makes his way off the bench tomorrow.

The Prop first joined in 2015 and spoke about his best moments in a Doncaster shirt.

“When i came here in 2015, it seems a long time ago now, but i never thought i would reach 100 appearances, so it is a very proud moment for me.”

The 28-year-old recalled the play off final at Ashton Gate and scoring a year later in the play off semi-final as his highlights during his time at Castle Park so far.

” I was lucky enough in my first year that we made it to the play off final and to be involved in that over two legs was great. That was an incredible experience. The following year to back that up was good and to score at the Madejski stadium.

This Saturday the Knights face London Scottish looking for a second consecutive home win.

“We spoke about it a few weeks ago and the points we could accumulate would take us above London Scottish. We only just lost to Ampthill, but with a win against Scottish we would go above them no matter what. It is in our own hands, it is a massive game for us and as a team to get a win in front of our home fans it would be great.”

Doncaster sign Ospreys forward on loan until the end of the season

The club are delighted to announce the arrival of Guido Volpi on loan until the end of the season.

The Argentinian number 8 has signed from the Ospreys, where he made his PRO14 debut against Munster in 2018.

At 6ft 4in and 110kg the forward will add height and power to the Doncaster defence. The 24-year-old has also featured for French Federale 1 side Narbonne and will begin training at Castle Park today and will be available for selection for Saturday’s fixture with London Scottish.

Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths spoke of the importance of adding the Argentinian to the squad.

“We are delighted to welcome Guido to Castle Park and it is a timely loan signing after the news that Oliver Stedman will require surgery on the ankle injury he picked up at Ampthill.

Guido is your typical no nonsense, abrasive Argentinian back row forward who’s ball carrying ability is second to none. He is so keen to do well during his time in the UK and I am looking forward to working with him. He in turn is looking forward to the challenges that the Championship will provide.

I would also like to thank the Ospreys Region, especially Dan Griffiths and Mike Ruddock, for their help and cooperation in getting Guido to our rugby club.”

Guido was pleased to make the loan switch with the aim of first team rugby.

“I wasn’t getting much game time with the Ospreys and coming here is a great chance to try get playing again and help Doncaster push up the table.

I am a ball carrier, i believe i can bring some energy to the team and i am looking forward to getting started and playing a game at this great ground, Castle Park.”

 

 

Steve McColl honoured to reach 50 mark

If selected, Steve McColl is set for his 50th appearance for the Knights this weekend, when London Scottish arrive at Castle Park.

The full back first joined the club in 2007 and is aiming to push on over the 50 mark for the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign.

“It has took a while to reach the number over a couple of spells i have been here. It is always a pleasure and honour to get to get that achievement. Hopefully as the season carries on i can get to more than that number up as well.”

The 31-year-old highlighted the draw with current Premiership side Exeter Chiefs as one of his best moments in a Doncaster shirt.

“The 9-9 draw against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park in 2009 was pretty special, it was the year they went up to the Premiership as well.

Also the last year of my first spell in the 2010/11 season was a highlight in itself. It was a good group, there were players like Ed Jackson at the club and it was a good year on the pitch as i got asked to join Leeds Carnegie for the following season in the Premiership and that was when my career set off really.”

The former Gloucester player is not looking too far ahead as he concentrates on the current season, before thinking about the 2020/21 Championship campaign.

“I am seeing how it goes, i am not getting any younger, but i am trying to enjoy my rugby every time i step out onto the pitch. I am really enjoying it at the moment and we’ll see how the season ends.”

On Saturday, the Knights face London Scottish as they look to bounce back to winning ways.

“It is a big game for us, we want to get another win and build up the table. We are looking forward to the next few games, and the chance to not play the likes of Newcastle and Ealing in the league.

We have said the game is a must win, but we understand it is going to be a difficult game.

It is good to be back at home, there was a good crowd at the Nottingham home game and we got the victory in the end. Hopefully we can give the fans something to cheer about once again.”

DKTV | Kyle Evans relieved to score his first try for the club

Kyle Evans scored his first try for the Knights to help secure a bonus point in the defeat last weekend to Ampthill.

The winger was delighted to open his account for the club.

“It is nice to score a try, obviously it has been a while since i have scored and there has been games i haven’t scored and as a winger you always want to score. You come off the pitch and I’ve been hard on myself.

Scoring last weekend, i couldn’t celebrate as much as i wanted to as we lost, but it was nice to get over the line.”

The 28-year-old was also named the Twitter Fans’ Man of the Match with 41% of the voting, recognition he was pleased with.

“It always good to be named Man of the Match, it gives you a little confidence boost so it is was nice.”

Kyle believes the Knights could’ve claimed the victory at Ampthill, but didn’t take their chances.

“There was a lot of tries that were missed, i feel like there were a few things we could have done better and unfortunately we lost, but we gained two points and there is things to still work on.

 

 

Bryony Cleall will be hosting a girls rugby event on Saturday

England Women’s International Bryony Cleall will be running a girls rugby event at Castle Park on Saturday before the Knights face London Scottish.

The Saracens Prop will be doing a Q&A for budding girl rugby players aged school year 6 and above. While RFU coaches will be hosting a training session.

In 2018/19 the 27-year-old earned her first England cap during the 2019 Women’s Six Nations and has named in the Red Roses’ 2020 squad for the competition.

Bryony is also a two time Tyrrells Premiership champion and Six Nations Grand Slam Winner!

The training will begin at 11am on the AGP Pitch, with the 45 minute Q&A starting at 12:15pm.

All the children attending will also receive a meal in the price of a ticket.

Tickets are £10 and include bring one adult. Any additional guests are £10 and don’t include the meal. Also included in the ticket price is watching Doncaster Knights play London Scottish in a Championship clash at Castle Park for a 2:30pm kick off.

To book your place please contact Nikki Davies on minijuniors@castle-park.co.uk.

 

Kyle Evans voted Twitter Fans’ Man of the Match against Ampthill

The Knights rallied late on to leave Ampthill with two points last Saturday, with Kyle Evans scoring the final try to secure the try bonus point.

The winger made the most linebreaks and tacklebreaks as well scoring his first try for the Knights in the defeat at Dillingham Park. 

The Welsh speedster won the Twitter Fans’ MOTM award with 41% of the vote ahead of second Charlie Foley (21%) and joint third Rory Pitman (15%) and Wian Conradie (15%).

You can watch Kyle and the rest of the Knights in Championship action this Saturday at Castle Park as they face London Socttish looking for a second consecutive home win!

Tickets are available here – https://bit.ly/2RYi0Md  

Academy star Elliot Webb calls for more students to join

As we enter the second month of the new year and many students now deciding their next place of education.

Doncaster College student Elliot Webb believes that the Academy is the perfect opportunity to combine education and a love of rugby.

‘’I think if you love rugby, but also want to get an education alongside that and want to build a future for yourself whether it’s in sport or out of sport, I think it’s a great opportunity for anyone.”

The Sport Science student is currently in his second year with the university and is looking to graduate with a degree in the summer of 2021.

Elliot is coached by Doncaster Knights winger Tyson Lewis, with the side currently on a seven-game winning streak. The youngster reflected on a fantastic 2019 for the Academy outfit.

‘’I think it was a good first half of the season, we started off slow with the first loss here at Castle Park, obviously we’ve come back from that, we’ve worked hard, and now from the performances at the back end of 2019, it’s left us in a good place going in to 2020.”

Elliot is relishing the opportunity of playing three leagues higher than last season, after the Academy was promoted three leagues higher after an independent assessment in the summer.

‘’I think the rise up the leagues has challenged us all and made us work hard, it has 100% made us better players.

Obviously, it took some adapting, which was shown with a loss in the first game.

I think the way in which we’ve come back from that as a team shows good character and I think we’re in a great position to push on and hopefully win the league.”

The Academy have their first game of the new decade away against Durham University on Wednesday, with Elliot keen to start the year off with a win.

‘’There’s no easy games, especially having gone up three leagues, obviously we still want to take maximum points from it as we do in any game.

Every game and every point counts, but we’ll be using it for the same reason as any other, to keep working hard, and to build on it going into the remainder of the season.”

 

Post Match Reaction | Ben Hunter ‘slow start cost us.’

The Knights suffered an agonising 30-26 defeat to Ampthill today as three second half tries were only enough to secure two points.

Ben Hunter scored the first try for the side and reflected with frustration at the final whistle.

” It is a disappointing one really, we did not go out there and put into place the plan we had organised all week. Fair play to Ampthill, they out did us today. We rallied back in the second half, but we left ourselves with too much to do in the end.”

Doncaster were trailing 10-0 after 15 minutes, which eventually provided dividend for the home side.

“The slow start cost us, we were second best to the breakdown. They got a few turnovers and the momentum shifted with them and scored a couple of good tries early on and that gave us a lot to do.”

The Knights return to Castle Park for their next fixture as they welcome London Scottish on the 1st February. A Championship clash that the hooker believes is the perfect chance to get back to winning ways.

” We need to bounce back, we need to be excited to be back at Castle Park, we got the win last time at home and we’ll take confidence from that. We will try to start well and hopefully get the win.”