Knights boss to wield the axe

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FURIOUS Knights boss Lynn Howells has promised to wield the axe for Saturday’s trip to Welsh Premiership strugglers Llandovery in the British & Irish Cup.

And he’s delivered a stark warning to his players after an “unacceptable” performance at Championship basement side Birmingham & Solihull.

Howells blasted his team for failing to respect the opposition in the wake of Sunday’s 35-29 double-header defeat - the two clubs agreeing beforehand that the result would stand in both league and cup.

And Doncaster’s director of rugby says his squad will be told in no uncertain terms to book their ideas up when they cross the Welsh border this weekend aiming to end a run of four straight defeats.

Howells said: “We’ll have another chat about it in training this week - but it’ll be very much a one-way chat.

“That performance was not acceptable and it’s not what I expect from a Doncaster team.

“Defensively it wasn’t good enough, offensively it wasn’t good enough and we didn’t stick to the game plan.

“When you score 29 points away from home it should be enough to win the game.

“But the attitude wasn’t right on the day and we didn’t give Birmingham any respect - so we got what deserved which was nothing.

“There’ll be changes this weekend and I won’t be giving the same lads a chance to make amends,” he added.

“We’ve got a few players coming back from injury - the likes of Andy Gates and Paul Devlin.

“And if they play well then there’s a few lads that might have to wait a long long time for another start in a Doncaster shirt.”

Doncaster were left seeing double at Damson Park as they crashed to their worst defeat of the season in a fixture originally scheduled as a Championship game.

But the RFU last week granted permission for the result to also stand in the B&I Cup, to ease fixture congestion, after the corresponding cup fixture was postponed last month.

Neil Cochrane and Tristan Roberts crossed the line either side of the break for the visitors - and Roberts kicked five penalties and two conversions.

But Howells’ side were outmuscled and out-thought by a Birmingham side that outscored Doncaster by four tries to two to win for only the third time in the league this season.

England Sevens winger Simon Hunt raced over in the opening few minutes and Ollie Grove’s try on the opposite flank gave the hosts an 18-16 half time lead.

Lock Semisi Tualava powered over after the restart and a second score from Hunt put the Knights in their place - despite the best efforts of reliable fly half Roberts.

Howells said: “It made sense that we made the game a double-header.

“It’s more for player welfare really because otherwise we’d have been looking at two games a week throughout February.

“But the result is a setback in both competitions and we need to start putting things right at Llandovery.