Newcastle Falcons – 12/08/2017

31Newcastle Falcons

08Doncaster Knights

2:00 pm · August 12, 2017

Four of the Knights Academy took to the field during Saturday’s 31-8 defeat to Premiership heavyweights Newcastle Falcons.

Sam Jones backed up his debut with a first 1st XV start at flanker with Sam Brooke, James Wright and Will Burden all featuring from the bench and Burden grabbed a late try in front of the Kingston Park faithful.

The 19-year-old Donny boy realized a life long ambition as he entered the field against the Falcons and says it was a truly amazing feeling. “It was nerve-racking particularly before i came on but the overall experience was unbelievable.

“Just to get on against a Premiership side was an absolute dream come true but when I scored I was ecstatic, seeing all the boys running over to celebrate with me was awesome.”

“I’d spotted that Jimmy [James Wright] had a one on one with his winger so ran blind with him and the defender tried to cross so I just had to guide my way through and get over the line.”

This summer is Will’s first taste of professional rugby and is quick to admit it has been a steep learning curve.

Having played school boy rugby as recently as last year, mixing it with seasoned pros such as Challinor, List and Flockhart has given the youngster plenty to think about. “Pre-season has been tough but I think all the Academy lads will benefit from a bit of toughness and it’s developed our rugby a lot.

“Training alongside the Knights means we are learning things from top quality players every single day and I honestly think you can see the improvement in us, not even from the start of last year, but in the last seven weeks.

“The first teamers have been good and seem to go out of their way to help and encourage us. Even simple things like talking through moves one last time before we went on at the weekend really help.

“The intensity and volume is the biggest difference to the rugby training I have done before.

“Previously, pre-season training has been two days a week for two hours compared to four full days a week which is obviously a huge increase.”

Whilst elated with his debut, Will isn’t getting carried away and knows that he must continue to develop and improve if he is to get further opportunities with the first team. “I’m just hoping that training goes well this week and that I get the call up versus Loughborough on Saturday but if not I’ll play for Phoenix away at Beverley then after that I’ll just keep working hard and trying to get better.

“I’ll take everything that I’ve learnt in pre-season into playing for Phoenix and the Academy then if I can keep my performances good fingers crossed it might push me into contention for the Knights.”

There’s every chance Will, and other Academy players, will join the Knights in the first ‘home’ game of pre-season 2017 at Thornensians RUFC this Saturday.

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