Doncaster impressed in a comfortable and assured performance to earn a 42-12 pre-season win over Sale RFC today.
Four first half tries set the away side up for an attacking display that proved too much for the National One opposition.
The Knights began the game with a purposeful intent and were camped inside the Sale half for the early encounters. That pressure soon paid dividend within the first five minutes as Rory Pitman found a gap from close range, after several pick and goes the Welshman dotted down to deservedly earn the visitors the lead. Sam Olver scored his first conversion of the afternoon to make the score 7-0.
Sale had a chance of their own for a quick reply when Jeremy Toa broke away from inside his own half, however the centre was eventually halted inside the Doncaster 22 after a superb Steve McColl tackle.
The home side were spurred on by that though and soon looked a danger again, however the Knights’ defence held firm and kept the National One side scoreless for the opening 15 minutes.
Clive Griffiths’ side quickly fired back and an Olver pass found Lewis down the left, the winger was left with plenty to do but the 34-year-old broke through two tackles inside the Sale 22 before dotting down.
The control of the game was firmly in the Championship outfit hands and they extended their lead once again as the clock ticked past 30 minutes. Lloyd Hayes bounced off a tackle after striding past the Sale 10m line before offloading to Tom James for his first try of the afternoon. Olver added the extras to give a 21-0 lead.
Donny dotted down their fourth try of the game with a superb double dummy from James off the back of a driving maul deep in the home side’s 22. Olver converted to earn the visitors a 28-0 advantage at the interval.
After half-time and with numerous changes to the side in opening 15 minutes, the Knights were still in command of the game. The training groundwork from the coaches showed as the away side won three consecutive line outs to push them up the pitch and force Sale under further pressure.
The first try of the second half came from Pitman, who drove over from close range once again after an impressive driving maul. Olver continued his fine kicking form for a 35-0 lead.
Sale did eventually score after 69 minutes, a driving maul pushed the Knights deep into their own 22 and allowed Johnny Leota to barge over; with Emiliano Calle Rivas converting well.
Doncaster did not let up though and debutant George Edgson on his return from injury collected a Reiss Cullen offload just outside the Sale 22, before dotting down to again extend the lead for the Championship outfit.
The home side battled throughout and doubled their points on the scoreboard with Tom Brady the scorer from a driving maul, Johnson converting to end the game 42-14 to the Knights after an imposing performance from the away side.
Knights XV: 15. McColl 14. Wilson 13. Hayes 12. Lucock 11. Lewis 10. Olver 9. James 1. Hislop 2. Hunter 3. Quigley 4. Challinor 5. Smith 6. Jones 7. Hills 8. Pitman
Replacements: 16. Sproston 17. Holling 18. Eames 19. Birch 20. Foster 21. Edgson 22. Hicks 23. Beech 24. Cullen 25. Flockhart 26. Pocklington 27. Burden 28. Carleton
Tries: Pitman 2, Lewis, James 2, Edgson
Conversions: Olver 5, Flockhart 1
Sale XV: 15. Rawcliffe 14. Brady 13. Moorhouse 12. Toa 11. Bingham 10. Calle Rivas 9. Bradley 1. Birchall 2. Dolly 3. Matthews 4. Davies 5. Gray 6. Priestley-Nangle 7. Hughes © 8. Williams
Replacements: 16. Pope 17.Longmore 18. Leatherbarrow 19. Ford 20. Norton 21. Blanchard 22. Parkinson 23. Johnson 24. Leota
Tries: Leota, Brady
Conversions: Calle Rivas, Johnson