Doncaster Knights: Challinor backs Knights to bounce back in B&I Cup

Matt Challinor

Matt Challinor

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Doncaster Knights go into battle in the British & Irish Cup this weekend and face a testing Pool D opener at Cross Keys.

The Welsh Premiership outfit, like Doncaster, will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing home defeat by Ebbw Vale.

And club captain Matt Challinor is under no illusions that the Knights will face a typical Welsh ‘welcome’.

“Like any Welsh team I’m sure they’d love to put one over English opposition,” he said.

“Traditionally teams have rested players in this competition – we did when we were last in it – but it has been restructured since then and it’s a competition that we want to do well in.

“I don’t think we’ll be looking to make a lot of changes but I’m sure that there will be some and any player who does come in will be looking to impress.

“But the main thing, apart from wanting to get the competition off to a good start, is we want to get back to winning ways.

“The next game can’t come quickly enough to try and put it right after you’ve lost any game – particularly at home where we were unbeaten throughout last season and where we’ve lost twice already.

“We were disappointed to lose against Pirates, especially as I thought we were the better side apart from the first 25 minutes of the second half.

“But in this division, not like National One last season when we could have an off-day and still manage to scrape a win, you have to play well for the full game.

“One of the things you look for when judging a side is the ability to bounce back and, as I say, we’ll be looking to do that on Saturday.”

Challinor remains confident that Knights will be competitive in the Championship this season and is looking for the team to pick up some momentum in their next three games before resuming their league campaign at Bristol.

“It’s a better squad than the one which went down,” he said.

“We’ve got a good mix of lads and they are all here for the right reasons.”