Bristol Rugby – 21/02/2015

12Doncaster Knights

27Bristol Rugby

2:00 pm · February 21, 2015

Knights 12 Bristol 27.

A stout defensive display was not enough for the Knights to keep in touch with the Championship’s second placed side Bristol. The visitors named a team with three former British and Irish Lions in the starting XV but in front of decent crowd the Knights started brightly.

Centre Terrence Hepetema made the game’s first purposeful attack on his Knights debut with a surging run into the Bris 22m and only good work from full back Jack Wallace prevented a score. However, following the positive early signs the visitors dominated play for the remainder of the first half and only a superhuman defensive effort from the Knights kept the score line competitive.

The odd opportunity did come for the Knights, a trademark darting run from Paul Jarvis had the Castle Park crowd on the edge of their seats but masterful work on the floor and an electrically quick defensive line met every Knights possession. Donny conceded two penalties in almost identical positions in quick succession; the first was put to the corner where excellent line out defense kept Bris out. With the second, fly half Matthew Morgan elected to go for posts and found the upright. The Knights failed to edeal with the rebound and following a Bristol scrum Skipper Dwayne Peel touched down after some pick and go phase play. Morgan’s wind affected conversion sailed wide.

The Bris attacks continued to come following the score but the Knights defensive line held firm and frustrated the visitors time and time again. The set piece was an area of joy for Griff’s men, a handful of scrum penalties fell their way and Bristol did everything they could to avoid being sucked into a forward arm wrestle and stood off when the Knights looked to drive post line out.

The scoreline stayed at 5-0 right up until the final play of the first half when Morgan successful slotted a penalty in midfield and the teams went in to the break with the Knights trailing 8-0.

The Knights had frustrated their illustrious opponents with steadfast defence but needed to do more when they enjoyed possession unfortunately Bris came out for the second half in top gear. A centrefield scrum for the visitors saw the ball spun to Morgan who produced an inch perfect cross field kick that sat up nicely for winger George Watkins. Watkins found Jack Wallace in support who raced over on 43 minutes. Morgan hit the crossbar with his conversion.

The game’s next score was crucial with the game poised at 13-0, opportunities were created by the Knights but when Watkins correctly read a floated Ume Fosita pass the full back put his foot down and crossed untouched. The conversion made it 20-0 and Donny had a mountain to climb.

Griff made wholesale personnel changes and Bristol also brought on a number of replacements. One man who came on was flanker Latu Makaafi and he made an immediate impact. Good work by Dougie Flockhart got the Knights in the danger zone before slick handling quickly moved possession to the Knights Championship top try-scorer who went over in the corner. There must have been something in the air yesterday as Dougie also saw his kick attempt bounce back off the upright.

Bristol completed a successful journey north when, on the 75th minute, replacement flanker powered over from close range after the visitors turned the screw with a driving line out in the Knights 5m. The successful conversion took the score to 27-5 but the Knights refused to give up.

The game’s closing stages belonged firmly to Donny playing up until the referees final whistle. Mat Clark broke forward powerfully and looked to offload to Flockhart but what looked like a, very, deliberate knock on prevented it reaching the winger. No penalty was given but the Knights attacked regardless. Piers Francis carried well before handing on to Tyson Lewis who was brought down just short of the Bristol Line. Doncaster recycled in field quickly and when the Bristol pack interfered with ruck ball on their own try line referee Andrew Small had little choice but to award and penalty try. Dougie added the extras to make the final score Knights 12 Bristol 27.

Next up for the Knights a trip to Billesley Common to face Moseley for what looks like it will be a crucial Championship battle.

Match Statistics

Knights XV:

15. Paul Jarvis, 14. Dougie Flockhart, 13. Mat Clark, 12. Terrence Hepetema, 11. Tyson Lewis, 10. Ume Fosita (Piers Francis 55’), 9. Tomasi Palu (Brad Field 50’), 1. Tom Davies (Jack Bergmanas 67’), 2. Ben Hunter (Vili Veikoso 56’), 3. Colin Quigley (WillGriff John 56’), 4. Tyler Hotson, 5. Jon Phelan (Ollie Stedman 55’), 6. Matt Challinor, 7. Michael Hills (C), 8. Alex Shaw (Latu Makaafi 67’).

Replacements;16. Jack Bergmanas, 17. Vili Veikoso, 18. Ollie Stedman, 19. WillGriff John, 20. Latu Makaafi, 21. Piers Francis, 22. Brad Field.

Tries; Makaafi 69’, Penalty 80’

Conv; Flockhart 80’


Bristol XV:

15. Jack Wallace (Adrian Jarvis 66’), 14. George Watkins, 13. Gareth Maule (Jack Tovey 71), 12. Gavin Henson, 11. Charlie Amesbury, 10. Matthew Morgan, 9. Dwayne Peel (c) (Craig Hampson 59’), 1. Jack O’Connell (Ellis Genge 51’), 2. Ross McMillan (Chris Brooker 71’), 3. James Hall, 4. Ben Glynn (Joe Joyce 51), 5. Ian Evans, 6. Marco Mama, 7. Josh Ovens (Nick Koster 60’), 8. Mitch Eadie.

Replacements: 16. Chris Brooker, 17. Ellis Genge, 18. Joe Joyce, 19. Nick Koster, 20. Craig Hampson, 21. Adrian Jarvis, 22. Jack Tovey.

Tries; Peel 23’, Wallace 43’, Watkins 50’, Koster 74’

Conv; Morgan 43, 74’

Pens; Morgan 40’

Referee: Andrew Small

Attendance: 1,552

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