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Bodes’ Update on the Season So Far

Knights Head Coach Steve Boden provides an update on injuries, the start to the season so far, and what his squad will look to take away from an upcoming tough run of games.

Thankfully, Bodes hasn’t had too many injury hits to concern himself with, but it is always best to have a team at full-strength – something he hopes to have in the relatively near future.

“Prop Joe Wrafter is doing well in the rehab process. He’s hopefully about 6 weeks away from returning to play. It’s been a long process for him but it’s been done the right way, so we’re looking forward to seeing him in a Donny shirt for the first time.

“Fellow prop, George Oram, has started his return to play protocol and, all going well, we’re hoping George will be back match-fit within 6 weeks. He’s got to hit a few criteria first but fingers crossed he’ll be returning within that period.

“And centre Connor Edwards has a small knee tweak which is an ongoing problem but he’s back in full training and available for selection in the near future.”

It’s a selection process which has become rather more complicated for Bodes and his coaching staff in recent times. In the pack, Will Holling earned a call-up to Wasps but has sat behind in-form hookers George Edgson and George Roberts in a Knights shirt.

“I think you’ve just got to be honest with them all – there’s nothing that I would say to Will that I wouldn’t say to the others. It’s easier to just put things straight on the line. While Will has gone to Wasps and had that great experience, the two in-form hookers at the club at the moment are George Edgson and George Roberts.

“They had an opportunity through Will being injured at the start of the year and they’ve taken it. Now, I’ve also got to realise that I’ve got three very capable hookers and I can’t just leave people not playing rugby that need to play. So, Will is going to get an opportunity and that will give us the chance to put competition back into that position. It’ll come, they’ve just got to be patient.”

Meanwhile, in the back-line, both Maliq Holden and Joe Margetts were impressive on debut against Richmond at Castle Park earlier in the month, so will surely be looking for more game-time on the wing and in the centre respectively.

“It’s a good headache, the one I’ve got with selection. I think sport is about opportunity and that’s all you can ask for is to get an opportunity, and take it when you get one.

“I think with Mal and Joe, it was pretty obvious they had good games. The challenge to anybody that wants to play regular minutes at this club is you’ve got to be there consistently, otherwise there’s a guy waiting.

“So, for me, the challenge for them now is can they do that week-in, week-out? If they can, then we’ll be impressed by it, but at the moment, they should celebrate that performance but know they’ve got to go on and do it consistently.”

Consistency will definitely help the squad, who have recorded four wins and two losses from six games so far this season. Bodes believes that too much time cannot be spent looking back on performances – the improvements lie in knowing what went wrong and focusing on adapting for that next game.

“I think, like we always do, we don’t really evaluate the outcome as much here – which is something it takes the new lads a little while to get their heads around.

“Coventry away was obviously disappointing and I take a lot of heat for that because I don’t believe I prepared the side in the best manner – that one was on the coaching staff.

“Bedford away was a very naïve performance but I’ll be honest, if we had played the type of rugby we played at points against Bedford consistently, then we would have had a lot more commanding performances this year.

“The performance was a massive positive against Bedford and it sort of turned us around a corner a little bit. Then we won the Scottish game, and I’d say that was a scrappy performance but we got the five points.

“Then after that, Ampthill was a poor performance but we still got the result. We showed some character in that game though and that’s what you’re going to need in a long season. There’s going to be times where you have to scrape results out.

“Against Richmond, in patches, I thought we played some really good stuff. I think we left about 25 points out there against Richmond – and that’s being realistic. We need to get our maul functioning as it isn’t at the moment, so that’s something we’re working really hard on. We also then need to sort out our maul defence.

“Attack wise, I think we’re creating some good stuff but we’ve got to have the ability to hold onto the ball for longer periods than we are doing.”

The next opportunity for Bodes and his squad to test out their improvements will come when the Knights travel to Hartpury this Saturday, Nov 20, for a 13:30 kick-off.

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