Sarries force past Knights despite solid showing.
13th February 2021
Saracens 29-10 Knights.
Doncaster Knights were unable to bring any points home to Castle Park despite keeping pace with the former European champs for long periods of this Trailfinders Challenge Cup contest.
In a spirited display, the Knights held their illustrious opponents to just twelve points in the opening forty and certainly put the Londoners to test in the opening exchanges.
Sustained attacking pressure from the Knights forced penalties out of hosts and Billy Mcbryde was able to kick the Knights into the lead after fifteen minutes with two further penalty attempts dropping wide.
Saracens hit back just before the half hour mark when wing Rotimi Segun profited out wide after the home pack had drawn the Donny defence in with patient pick and go carries.
The Knights stuck to their task but were occasionally guilty of trying to play a little bit too much in the middle third and inviting unnecessary pressure upon themselves.
On the stroke of half time Sarries went over again, with hooker Tom Woolstencroft powering over from short range after a line out deep in Donny territory – 12-3.
The second half continued in a similar vein to the first, with the Knights showing plenty of ambition and limiting the Saracens attacking threats.
The Donny set piece performed impressively for much of the afternoon with the Knights holding the upper hand at scrum time and repelling the home attempts to drive their line out.
Eager defending from back row Andy Christie forced a knock on in midfield and Manu Vunipola hacked the bouncing ball forward. Duncan Taylor set off and was able to win the footrace with James Kane to dot down close to the posts.
Unperturbed the Knights continued to cause issues for the home side and with the injection of some fresh legs from the bench set about the Sarries line after kicking a penalty to the corner. Patient pick and go play from the forwards moved Donny to within one metre of scoring when tight head Vincent Koch cynically killed the ball and was sin binned.
From the resulting scrum the Knights were able to reverse their opposites back over the line to force a penalty try and it was game on.
Unfortunately, Donny lost touch in the final ten minutes, conceding twice in the closing stages and adding late gloss to the score line for the hosts.
Overall, an encouraging display from the Doncaster side with many of the squad making their first appearance for the Club.
Steve Boden and his coaching team have now seen the vast majority of their new charges in action and will look to end pre-season with more improvement against Ealing next weekend.
Saracens XV| 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Ali Crossdale, 13 Dom Morris, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Rotimi Segun, 10 Manu Vunipola 9 Aled Davies, 1 Richard Barrington 2 Tom Woolstencroft ©3 Vincent Koch, 4 Joel Kpoku5 Tim Swinson, 6 Callum Hunter-Hill, 7 Mike Rhodes, 8 Andy Christie
Replacements| 16 Kapeli Pifeleti 17 Eroni Mawi 18 Josh Ibuanokpe 19 Ollie Stonham 20 Toby Knight 21 Tom Whiteley 22 Harry Sloan 23 Will Hooley (all used)
Tries; Segun 26’, Woolstencroft 38’,Taylor 55’, Swinson 71’, Kapeli Pifeleti 78’
Conv; Vunipola 38’, 55’
Knights XV| 15) James Kane, 14) Aaron Reed, 13) James Newey, 12) Harry Strong, 11) Howard Packman, 10) Billy McBryde, 9) Gus Warr, 1) Bomber Hislop ©, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) Joe Jones, 4) Will Britton, 5) Jerry Sexton, 6) John Kelly, 7) Jack Rouse, 8) Jack Davies.
Replacements | 16) Conrad Cade, 17) George Roberts, 18) Andrew Foster, 19) Matt Challinor, 20) Conor Joyce, 21) Reiss Cullen, 22) Mark Best, 23) Sam Olver (all used)
Tries; Penalty Try 63’
Pens; McBryde 15’