The Knights suffered their second home defeat of the season as they lost to Munster ‘A’ 28-12 in the British and Irish Cup.
Doncaster were made to pay for some costly mistakes by a Munster side that took their time to find their rhythm.
Munster were able to capitalise on a poor second half performance from the Knights which saw them score two interception tries; both from inside the Munster half.
It was the Knights however who started the game the brightest, the first thirty minutes were dominated by the home side but lacked the clinical finishing they have shown in recent games.
With the forwards getting the better of the visitors the Knights remained camped deep inside the away half, fly-half Simon Humberstone kept the pressure on the Irish side with precise kicking to ensure territory was favourable early on.
The Knights, whilst enjoying all the possession, never really made it count. The first gilt edged chance was wasted after a misplaced pass from Paul Jarvis stopped Sam Edgerley from going the distance as the winger failed to hold possession with a clear run just 22 yards out.
It took two moments of magic from the Knights to unlock the Munster defence who remained resolute all game, the first came from Jarad Williams. A cleverly worked line out from the Knights on the Munster five metre line saw Glen Young pop the ball to the inside channel to the on-rushing Williams who powered over the line, 7-0.
It looked very much like the Knights would extend their lead immediately after the try, Jarvis collected the restart and charged up the field picking out Edgerley on the wing who was stopped just short of the Munster 22m.
Munster once more weathered the Doncaster storm and following thirty minutes of pressure finally got themselves into the game. The attack of note would have been a try if not for crossing in the line out but away side wouldn't have to wait long for their first score.
The Knights were set upon with a barrage of line outs, Munster’s first attempt was held up but the referee brought it back for a penalty and the following line out proved too much as Gavin Coombes found a gap and rushed in under the posts. 7-7.
The second half played out just how the first half finished, Munster came out firing on all cylinders and were out-playing the Knights in almost every aspect. Even when the Knights enjoyed sustained spells of possession the unrelenting visiting defence put pressure on the half backs and stifled the Donny runners.
It took the away side just three minutes to take the lead following the restart, Richard Copeland finishing a powerful run from ten yards out after a mistake in midfield created a break; 7-14.
Munster’s quick start seemed to throw the Knights into disarray, too many small mistakes followed and they were quickly punished for that.
Edgerley was the first to be caught out by the Munster defence, a short tip pass was picked off by Calvin Nash who was free to race in from sixty metres out giving Te Aihe Toma another easy kick to dispatch, 7-21.
Just four minutes later and there was yet more second half woe for Doncaster, another interception this time from a Humberstone pass saw substitute Cian Bohane charge in from the halfway line to put the game well past Doncaster, 7-28.
Munster continued to push the Knights following Bohane’s try but against the run of play it was Donny who struck next with some individual brilliant from Edgerley. The winger took advantage of a kind bounce from a Declan Cusack kick and took off, cutting inside he broke the line before putting a kick high over the fullback and raced after it to score just as it looked like the ball was about to go dead, 12-28.
Donny couldn’t build on the try and were lucky to not concede just minutes after, Coombes once more chargd through but play was brought back for a forward pass.
The final ten minutes were a formality for both sides, Doncaster pushed forward looking for a consolation try but the Munster defence remained too strong for them and they were almost made to pay once more. Just yards away from the try-line a Ben White pass was intercepted; fortunately Bohane, this time, was unable to finish and Doncaster blushes were sparred.
The Knights will have a chance to make amends next week as the team travel to Cork but will need to show much improvement to record a first cup win of the campaign.
Knights XV; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Andy Bulumakau, 13) Lloyd Hayes, 12) Mat Clark, 11) Sam Edgerley, 10) Simon Humberstone (Dec Cusack 63’), 9) Michael Heaney (Ben White 56’), 1) Richard List (Robin Hislop 53’), 2) Jack Bergmanas (Dave Nelson 53’), 3) Colin Quigley (WillGriff John 45’), 4) Huw Taylor, 5) Glen Young, 6) Jack Ram, 7) Michael Hills © (Will Owen 40’), 8) Jarad Williams.
Replacements; 16) Robin Hislop, 17) Dave Nelson, 18) WillGriff John, 19) Matt Challinor, 20) Will Owen, 21) Dec Cusack, 22) Ben White.
Tries; Williams 18’, Edgerley
Conv; Humberstone 19’
Munster A: 15) David Johnston, 14) Calvin Nash, 13) Sam Arnold (Cian Bohane 40’), 12) Dan Goggin, 11) Greg O'Shea (Stephen Fitzgerald 58’), 10) Te Aihe Toma, 9) John Poland, 1) Peter McCabe (Liam O'Connor 51’), 2) Kevin O'Byrne (Vincent O'Brien 62’), 3) Brian Scott (Rory Burke 51’), 4) Fineen Wycherley, 5) Evan Mintern (Ronan Coffey 69’), 6) Dave O'Callaghan, 7) Gavin Coombes (Bailey Fallon 73’), 8) Robin Copeland ©
Replacements: 16) Vincent O'Brien, 17) Liam O'Connor, 18) Rory Burke, 19) Ronan Coffey, 20) Bailey Fallon, 21) Cian Bohane, 22) Stephen Fitzgerald.
Tries; Coombes 34’, Copeland 42’, Nash 54’, Bohane 58’
Conv; Toma 34’, 42’, 54’, 58’
Referee; Stuart Gaffikin
Written by Connor Hickinbottom.