Doncaster Knights boosted by returnees for Championship play-off semi-final against London Irish

Michael Hills
Michael Hills
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Doncaster Knights look set to field their strongest side in several months in Sunday’s Championship play-off semi-final first-leg tie against London Irish at Castle Park on Sunday (3pm).

Strong-running centre Mat Clark and prop WillGriff John have proved their fitness this week after lengthy lay-offs and will both come into contention for a place in the side to entertain the Exiles.

Both skipper Michael Hills and in-form centre Andy Bulumakau have recovered from injuries sustained in the club’s 22-5 defeat when the two sides met at Castle Park in the last game of the regular season a fortnight ago.

Attack-minded full-back Paul Jarvis is fit again after resting a collar-bone injury in that game, and back-rower Jack Ram, who missed the game with a knee injury, could also come into contention.

Players’ player of the year Ram, who this week signed a new deal at Castle Park for next season, was rated ’70-30’ in midweek by director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

“We’ll make a late call on Jack but we won’t take a gamble on him,” said the Welshman. “If he doesn’t play this week he’ll be available for the second leg.”

Griffiths, making good progress from his recent Achilles tendon operation, is hoping that the availability of several proven match-winners not involved in the league game could help tip the balance of the tie in Knights’ favour.