2022 Under-20 Six Nations: England to Play Wales at Castle Park

England’s 2022 Under-20 Six Nations home fixture against Wales will be played at Castle Park. 

In their third-round match, Alan Dickens’ 2021 Grand Slam winning side host Wales at Castle Park, Doncaster, on Friday 25 February, KO 19:00 GMT.

Tickets for the fixture are on sale and can be purchased here: https://www.drfc.co.uk/tickets/

In their opener, England travelled to The DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh, where they faced Scotland before taking on Italy at Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Treviso, in the second round).

In their fourth-round match, the team play Ireland at Saracens’ StoneX Stadium (Saturday 12 March at 19:15 GMT). England’s final game of the tournament sees them travel to France to take on Les Bleuets in a ‘Super Sunday’, at Stade Aime Giral, in Perpignan, (Sunday 20 March, KO 20:00 GMT).

All matches will be available on BBC iPlayer.

England U20s Head Coach, Alan Dickens said: “We’re pleased to be able to have our home games in two fantastic locations and know we’ll get incredible support from the venues and their regular rugby fans.

“Castle Park is an excellent facility and has hosted England Women with great success and no doubt they’ll do the same with the U20s.

“We’re really pleased the Championship is back to its usual playing window in February and March, in line with the men’s games.

“Many of the lads missed opportunities at U18 level, due to the pandemic, so for some of them this will be their first international experience. I’m sure they’ll enjoy every moment.

“Six Nations did a great job, in really challenging circumstances, to deliver the 2021 championship and we’re looking forward to playing in next year’s tournament.”

Doncaster Knights President Steve Lloyd speaking about the fixture said: “I am delighted that an England U20s game will be played here at Castle Park.

“It is a great honour to host the age-grade side for their game against Wales in the 2022 U20 Six Nations. This will be a great event, not just for our club, but for the town and local area. It is an acknowledgement of the great facilities we have at Castle Park, and we are thrilled to be able to help promote the U20s.”

 

England U20s 2022 Six Nations fixtures

Friday 4 February – Scotland v England – KO 8pm – DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh

Friday 11 February – Italy v England – KO 7pm – Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso

Friday 25 February – England v Wales – KO 7pm – Castle Park, Doncaster

Saturday 12 March – England v Ireland – KO 7.15pm – StoneX Stadium, London

Sunday 20 March – France v England – KO 8pm – Stade Aime Giral, Perpignan

Academy Preview | Jack Townend

Doncaster Knights Senior Academy are setting up for their first game post-COVID this Wednesday night as they travel to Sheffield University.

This year’s captain, Jack Townend, has spent pre-season with the Knights first team and is hopeful that he will be able to bring some of that experience back to the Academy set-up, to the betterment of the side.

“Being with the first team was a ridiculously good environment to be in, and obviously that is ultimately what all the boys in the Academy want to do. So the group of us that have been with the first team have tried to bring back as much information and knowledge that we’ve picked up as we can and put that into making our environment better.

“It’s been really good. The pre-season the Academy have had has mirrored that of the first team, so it’s been really easy for us to then drop in and hit the ground running.

“There’s a lot of new lads that have come in as well as, because of COVID, we missed out on a full year of new students, so this has been the first time we’re really all together. So, it’s hard to get everyone up to scratch with how we play and how we do things but I think it’s been going pretty well.”

The side will face a double-barrelled test this week as they move into a new division, the BUCS Rugby Premier Division Two, and come up against Sheffield University. Since its launch in 2015, the Academy has been coached by a number of ex-Knights players, something which Jack believes is of great benefit to the players.

“The coaches are really good at putting us right and ensuring we play in the way that we want to. With having Tyson [Lewis] who has so many caps, then Listy [Richard List] and Kendo [Glen Kenworthy], they’re setting us up in the best way possible.

“We’ve been doing lots of contact conditioning preparation to get our bodies ready because we’ve had a bit of an injury crisis already, straight off the bat. So, we’re getting ready after not being doing everything for so long.

“We’re looking pretty much at full strength with a couple of boys that have only just missed out, so we should be prepared to hit the ground running.”

The main aim of Wednesday night will of course be an Academy victory, however, the squad are regimented in their determination to ensure they don’t get hung up on any one game and are ready to push on for the whole season, perhaps continuing the tradition of promotion.

“I’m really confident – I feel like we should be pushing right up there and looking at getting promoted again, fingers crossed. The aim is for us to eventually play in Super BUCS, and we’re two divisions away from that now.

“All we want to do is just to improve every week. If we can do that, then we’ll be setting ourselves up to have a really good year. Tyson’s really good at telling us just to take everything one week at a time, to make sure that we’re prepared and mentally set to each week, and then after that week we’ll move on to the next to continue to graft and work as hard as we can to achieve our goals.”

The Knights Academy will kick off at 5pm against Sheffield University at Norton Sports Park tomorrow [Wednesday] evening.

TEAM NEWS | Knights named for Reds test.

Doncaster Knights look to keep their unbeaten home record intact tomorrow as we welcome the early league leaders, Jersey Reds, to Castle Park.

For the clash, Steve Boden makes two changes to the starting XV that lost out to Bedford at Goldgington Road last Friday.

Yorkshireman Harry Davey gets his first competitive start for the Club, replacing Billy McBryde at full back; having impressed in cameos off the bench so far. Jack Davies is recalled to the starting line up in place of John Kelly who misses the clash.

Hooker George Edgson and centre Connor Edwards start against the side they previously represented with the Knights aiming for a third successive win against the Reds in all Championship competition.

Maliq Holden is recalled to the match day squad and will hope to make his first competitive appearance and Mark Best will also hope to get the chance to shine against his former teammates.

Kick off tomorrow is at 14:30 at tickets are available via – https://www.drfc.co.uk/tickets/

Season Cards have now arrived at Castle Park & you can collect yours from reception today until 4pm or from the ticket window tomorrow morning.

Starting XV | 15 Harry Davey, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Connor Edwards,11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Conrad Cade, 2 George Edgson, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Jack Davies, 7 Sam Graham ©, 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Ronan McCusker, 20 Sam Hudson, 21 Joe Green, 22 Mark Best, 23 Maliq Holden

 

TEAM NEWS | Knights named for Champ opener

Knights named for Championship opener with Coventry Rugby tomorrow at Butt Park.

Steve Boden makes just one change to the back line that started in the Knights 33-29 defeat away to Newcastle Falcons with Gus Warr getting the nod over Alex Dolly at scrum half.

Upfront there is a familiar feel to the side with Andrew Foster, Will Holling and Andrew Foster starting in the front row. Behind them Jack Davies is shows his versatility to start at lock and partner Danny Drake on his competitive debut.

Newly named Club Captain Sam Graham will wear the number six jersey with John Kelly switching from six to eight.  Summer signing Sam Hudson is also named as a starter at open side flanker.

From the bench, five players will hope to make their competitive debut in Donny colours in Will Vaughan, Henry Paul, Josh Peters, Alex Dolly & Harry Davey.

George Roberts and George Edgson, both made try-scoring contributions from the bench last time out and will hope to have a similar impact tomorrow.

Kick off tomorrow is 15:00 & you can buy tickets online at www.coventryrugby.co.uk/tickets

 

The supporters coach for will depart from Castle Park at 11.15am. Please park on the gravel car park if you are leaving your car at the club. The cost will be £15 for adults and £8 for juniors – please bring correct change.

 

Starting XV | 15 Billy McBryde, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Connor Edwards,11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Gus Warr, 1 Conrad Cade, 2 Will Holling, 3 Andy Foster, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Jack Davies, 6 Sam Graham, 7 Sam Hudson, 8 John Kelly.

 

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Josh Peters, 20 George Edgson, 21 Alex Dolly, 22 Harry Davey, 23 Guido Volpi.

PGB statement – new Covid-19 strategy for the elite game in England

THE PROFESSIONAL Game Board (PGB) has today announced a new Covid-19 strategy that will incentivise players and management from the elite game in England to be fully vaccinated.

From today (Monday 13 September), the policy will allow Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Allianz Premier 15s or Championship Rugby clubs to relax some elements of the current Minimum Operating Standards (MOS) once they reach a vaccination rate of 85% in both the player and staff groups.

Following a recommendation from the PGB’s COVID-19 Minimum Operating Standards Review Group, the PGB has approved the new approach and remains committed to the two core principles of protecting the health of all players and staff and reducing the risk of any disruptions to matches or training.

Therefore, once both the playing group and staff group reach a level where 85% or more are fully vaccinated, elements of the current COVID-19 Minimum Operating Standards (MOS) can be relaxed. For the avoidance of doubt, a fully vaccinated person is currently defined as two weeks post their last dose of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved vaccine. It should also be noted that these changes apply to domestic competitions only and it is likely that other cross-border competition standards may vary. The EPCR testing and MOS requirements will be updated once agreed with EPCR.

Chris Booy, chair of the PBG said: “The health and safety of everyone involved in the elite game is our priority and we know it is vital we ensure the vast majority of players and management are fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

“It is still a personal choice as to whether you receive a vaccination, but we want to strongly encourage as many players and staff as possible to be vaccinated so that we can proactively contribute as much as possible to the safety of our wider communities and of our players, staff and supporters.

“Whilst we hope that there will be no need to reverse any of these proposed changes, the PGB will continue to review all MOS in line with Government advice.”

The PGB can confirm that from Monday 13 September once a club reaches a level of 85% vaccination status in both the overall playing and support staff groups the following relaxations may be applied subject to club risk assessment:

Training Environment

·       Social distancing for players and support staff can be removed both indoors and outdoors.

·       Masks will be recommended but no longer compulsory for players and support staff both indoors and outdoors.

·       Masks must still be worn by players in the medical room

Match Day Environment

·       Social distancing for players and support staff within the Red Zone is no longer required. This will apply to all areas of the Red Zone including the changing rooms and substitution benches.

·       Masks will be recommended but no longer compulsory for players and support staff both indoors and outdoors.

·       Medical staff will continue to wear appropriate PPE for the role that they are undertaking and masks must still be worn by players in the medical room.

·       Where there is a match that is played between a team that is less than 85% vaccinated and a team that is more than 85% vaccinated, only the team who are more than 85% vaccinated will be able to apply these new MOS. Any team that is less than 85% will still be required to follow the current MOS in full.

Testing

·       Given the relaxing of these other measures, the PGB believes it is important that the current testing processes remain in place whilst any impact of the above changes are being evaluated.

·       All clubs will still, therefore, be required to conduct a minimum of two lateral flow tests (LFTs) per week, however, the earliest time-point when a pre-match day test can be undertaken will move from match day minus two to match day minus one (no change at Championship and AP15s).

·       The testing requirement for all external visitors remains unchanged and any Red Zone match day staff will need to take a LFT on match day minus one or on match day itself, regardless of vaccination status.

Knights midfield gets double boost.

There is more transfer news today as Doncaster Knights announce the signing of midfielders Fraser Strachan & Joe Margetts from Ealing Trailfinders & Ayr Bulls respectively.

Strachan arrives having spent last season in West London with Ealing Trailfinders where he was prolific despite limited opportunity. The centre dotted down for three tries in three appearances in the Trailfinders runners up campaign.

Fraser developed through the Northampton Saints academy, making four senior appearances for the first team before moving to the capital. He also has plenty of experience in the Greene King IPA Championship after a loan spell at Bedford Blues.

The 22-year-old played in the 2017 A League Premiership final, and he continued to impress the following season, making another appearance in the Northampton Wanderers third consecutive A League final in which they beat Exeter Braves 31-21.

Fraser has also been recognized on the international front, initially playing through the age groups with Scotland before switching to represent England at Under-18 level and Bodes says he fits in perfectly with the Knights game plan this season. “Fraser is a guy we looked at very closely last season before he signed with Ealing, he’s young and hungry to develop, he has a very strong distribution game but also abrasive in contact.”

Fraser added, ‘I’m very excited to be joining Doncaster and it is clear to see from their results last season that they are a very good team and play some good rugby.

“Everyone at the club, from players to staff, have all been very welcoming and I’m looking forward to learning from the experienced coaches and pushing on in my career.”

Also hoping to start in the Knights midfield when September 18th rolls around is 24-year-old Joe Margetts.

Joe is another product of the Hartpury College rugby machine, having spent seven years at the institution in total. Margetts joined as 16-year-old in the College’s AASE team before progressing to the University ranks.

While studying for a degree in Business Management, Joe aided Hartpury’s BUCS side to a Super Rugby title and, upon graduating, was offered a contract with their Saturday side in the Championship.

Joe had agreed to join Ayr Bulls in the Scotland’s new Super Six tournament in September last year but Covid prevented the competition from going ahead.

Despite having had a slight break from the game, Bodes sees a lot of potential in his latest acquisition. “Joe last played competitively at Hartpury 18 months ago but he is a player I have been tracking for a while.

“He is a fantastic natural athlete with great, off-the-line, pace and strength in contact. We feel there is plenty of development in him but with hard work he can do very well.”

Joe added. “I’m very happy to have signed with Doncaster Knights and really excited to get the season started with the lads.

“Pre-season so far has showed me how driven and hungry our squad is from all the players through to the coaching staff and I’m looking forward to contributing towards this.”

Earlier today the 2021/22 Championship fixtures were announced with Knights kicking off away at Coventry on the weekend of September 18thbefore returning to Castle Park versus London Scottish a week later.

Season ticket information will be coming very soon.

Academy group join Knights pre-season.

The Doncaster Knights player pathway continues to shine as a group of nine Academy students have joined the early stages of first team pre-season.

The pandemic meant the youngsters missed a full season of action but the group are raring to start a new adventure in the British Universities & Colleges (BUCS) Northern Premier 2 division; the third tier of the BUCS Pyramid.

Selected by Head of Academy Tyson Lewis; Joe Barnes, Adam Hopkinson, Calvin Mitchell, Jack Townend, Joe Barnes, Sam Wager, Tom Parkin, Tom O’Brien, Will Metcalfe have all linked up with the senior squad for the first block of pre-season and Tyson believes they will all be better for the experience.

“We’ve offered a number of boys the chance to do pre-season based on their previous displays and our knowledge of them. Two of the boys we have watched in the recent Yorkshire Under 18s competition & they stood out and the rest we know from last season.

“We are not expecting them to be at the same level of the Knights yet but it is an opportunity for them to see where they are in terms of fitness, in terms of skills and to absorb the information that’s given to them.

“They have been in for a few weeks now so they definitely know what is expected of them and whilst there is an understanding they are Academy players we are not letting them get away with missing standards, all of which should stand them in good stead for when the Academy season starts.”

The Academy’s incredible rise through the league structure continued last year as they recorded a third promotion in four seasons, following a level transfer in 2019.

The transfer saw the Academy elevated two levels up the league pyramid, meaning they have ascended five leagues since joining BUCS in 2016.  “The new season is another step up, we are now two promotions away from BUCS Super Rugby league which is the ultimate goal but there are some very high quality sides in our league this year.

“The likes of Manchester Met & Loughborough will be extremely strong but we are aiming to be in the mix and be competitive despite it being our first year at this level.”

Kyle Evans & Sam Olver in Champ Clubs Podcast Team of the Year

Episode Thirteen of the Championship Clubs Podcast is available now!  

The Podcast, which aims to provide a positive voice for the league, is available to listen to via Apple Podcast and Spotify and can also be watched on Youtube – just search Championship Clubs Podcast.

With Ben Gulliver away sunning himself on the English Riviera, host Michael Casey is joined in the co-host seat by Bedford Blues Chief Operating Officer and co-Podcast founder Gareth Alred.

Gareth gives a synopsis of the past season’s streaming coverage, but despite Casey’s best efforts won’t be drawn on any Championship secrets!

Then, ahead of this weekend’s Championship Final play off second leg between Saracens and Ealing at The StoneX, the pair are joined by two guys who have seen every club in the league firsthand and whilst commentating on the live streams for Saracens, Ealing and Hartpury this season – Jack Zorab and Dave Rogers, as together they pick the ‘Championship Clubs Podcast Team of the Season’.

Who makes the cut? Every club gets a mention, but which ones make it and who misses out? Listen in to find out!

Episode Thirteen is available now on Podbean, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Youtube via https://linktr.ee/Champclubspod

Championship Clubs Podcast is also on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. Just search @ChampClubsPod to listen, watch or join in the conversation.

Coventry reaction | Steve Boden & Ben Hunter.

Doncaster Knights made it two wins from two on Friday evening with a battling victory over Coventry under the lights at Castle Park.

The Knights raced into a 20-7 half time lead in their home debut but could not shake the West-Midlanders who fought back to within a single point with fifteen minutes left to play.

In a tense showdown Steve Boden’s charges were able to navigate their way past the Cov fightback, showing a resilience The Boss was encouraged by.

One man who definitely stood up to be counted on Friday evening was Ben Hunter. After not been included in the twenty-three to face Ampthill on the opening weekend the hooker produced a fine, full 80 minute display.

Now in season number with the Knights Ben Hunter is definitely considered one of the old guard at Castle Park but says he is still loving every second & looking forward to rolling the clock back on Friday, as the Knights travel to Harpury College, Ben’s former stomping ground as a student.

Don’t miss a second of the action on Friday, order Doncaster Knights vs Hartpury for £10 below.

FREE 8 page digital programme.

Enjoy the Knights digital match day programme for FREE!

For 2021 Doncaster Knights are pleased to announce our match day programme will be available to supporters digitally having teamed up with MatchDayInfo. With supporters currently not allowed entry to Castle Park on a match day, we will be producing a digital match day programme for fans to enjoy from the comfort of their home.

Programmes will be available to view through MatchDayInfo’s interactive mobile app for each of our home games this season. Fans can still get their bi-weekly fix of a match day programme, but they can now download it digitally rather than purchasing one in-person from Castle Park.

Doncaster Knights vs Coventry programme.

For more information about how you can advertise in our programme, please email mcasey@castle-park.co.uk

James Newey | Saracens Preview

Centre James Newey previews the Knights Trailfinders Challenge Cup opener against Saracens at Castle Park this weekend.

The former Jersey man looks ahead to what promises to be a huge test for the new squad as they face the former European Champions in what is the Knights first game in 10 months.

Having been back in training since November, James describes the mood in the camp as excited as they look to show off everything they’ve been practising so far.