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Match Report | Championship Rugby, Round Fourteen | Doncaster Knights 12 – 27 Coventry Rugby

Doncaster’s new era, following the departure of Steve Boden, with Joe Ford now in charge of coaching and advised by British and Irish Lions legend, Sir Ian McGeechan, began disappointingly at Castle Park where they were well beaten by a convincing Coventry side who’ve moved into second place in the Championship.

Coventry’s pack were outstanding, especially the front row of Toby Trinder, Jordon Poole and Adam Nicol, who were far too powerful for their opposite numbers who, overall, were penalised six times at the scrum.

Although Doncaster’s work-rate was exemplary throughout, Ford and McGeechan must be concerned that Doncaster’s pack were outfought and worried too that the line-out gave the ball away three times.

Alongside a dominant pack, creating three tries,Tongan fly half Pat Pellegrini shone for 80 minutes, setting up the try for flanker Tom Ball, and also striking two conversions and two penalties.

Their coach Alex Rea was delighted and is now preparing to take on league leaders Ealing Trailfinders at the Butts Park Arena next weekend.

“ I thought we controlled the game from start to finish, our scrum was excellent and our tighthead,Nicol,had a brilliant match.

“ Our energy and hunger to do all the unseen work was good and we did the basics really well.”

Playing almost the entire first half deep in their half and with no ball, Doncaster had no option but to defend effectively. Then in the second, at long last, they won some possession, scoring two tries by fly half Billy McBryde, driven over by a maul, and  on 78 minutes by replacement winger, Nat Greenwood, on loan from Newcastle Falcons, who won the chase for a ball that had been kicked towards Coventry’s posts.

This limited improvement arrived far too late, and a mediocre performance deteriorated when Doncaster lost concentration at the climax allowing centre Tom Hitchcock to add a third.

So, not the start that McGeechan and Ford needed.

“ I thought the attitude of the players was superb and we didn’t give Coventry any easy chances. It’s amazing to be back in a tracksuit again. It’s exciting and I’m really looking forward to it,” explained Sir Ian.

This was Doncaster’s fifth defeat in 13 games, and Ford acknowledges what the priority now is:

“ We struggled at the scrum, so we’ve got to work out how we can get that firing again. I’m proud of the fight we showed, we never gave in and our defence was awesome.”


-Words by Guy Williams

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