The Academy side will play in the BUCS Northern 1A division next season after being independently assessed and as a result promoted up the University rugby union system.
Under the stewardship of Head Coach Tyson Lewis and fellow coaches Richard List, Declan Cusack and Matt Challinor the side gained promoted for the second consecutive season as they won the Northern 4B division this year by 22 points, winning all nine games.
While the side also won the Northern Conference Plate for the second time in their history with a triumph over Leeds University.
Last year in the 2017/18 campaign the Academy won the Northern 5B league by six points with an unbeaten record of eight wins. Not only that the team also claimed the Northern Conference cup for the first time in their history.
Another triumph for the academy and a testament to the coaching has been the progression into the Doncaster Knights first team before earning a full-time professional contract with Sam Jones, Sam Pocklington and Will Holling now all signed to the club. While another future star 18-year-old Seth Adams scoring on only his second appearance for the Knights during a 2018/19 pre-season friendly against Newcastle Falcons.
After being independently assessed in two one off games against Hull University and Russian Premier side Krasny Kar, the Academy will start next season in Tier 1 of the University Rugby Union system as they begin life in the Northern 1A division, which is three divisions below Super Rugby.
Head Coach Tyson Lewis was delighted his team will be playing in a much higher division next season.
“It is a huge weight off our shoulders with the decision to go up the leagues, we are excited to test the waters in that league and obviously playing Hull first team as one of the preliminary games for whether we would gain the promotion gave us an indicator, we did win that but it was probably the first time in the season that we’d had a real test and a team go at us and put us under pressure.
Looking forward to next season if we can have more games like that it is going to be a bigger challenge for the boys and they’ll learn a lot more from playing games then doing reviews.”
Tyson believes the development of the squad in the higher leagues will improve against tougher opposition as well.
“The progression will be big, it will go from knowing we can score from anywhere to thinking actually about the phases, being more strategic and it will be a step towards being able to play for the Knights’ first team.
In terms of playing the higher leagues and understanding the game further, it will allow the boys to use their rugby brain and identify various situations.
After two consecutive league and cup victories, Tyson will continue his ambition for promotion once again next season.
“Our ambitions won’t change even though we are in a higher league and by nature we are competitive individuals but a humble group, we will go out to win every game and win the league, we had a taste of the league against Hull and are stepping into the unknown.
It has been hard work on and off the field to have this decision go in our favour, the boys learned so much from the game against Krasny Kar who were basically a Championship outfit. It is a testament to the young men in the Academy and I want to thank them and those that started with us right at the start.
We will not squander their hard work and I want to thank the club, Becky, Clive, Tony and Steve for backing us all the way.
It has been a massive effort and the hard work behind the scenes between the Knights and the College and I am grateful to everyone that has played a part to help us fulfil this dream and hopefully come September we can push on.”
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