Nottingham v Doncaster Knights: Build-up and team news as Knights resume bid for Championship top four finish

Doncaster Knights will be looking for a sixth successive league win over Nottingham when they resume their Championship campaign at Lady Bay on Sunday (3pm).

Friday, 26th January 2018, 5:00 am
Clive Griffiths

Knights, who came from 23-13 down to beat the Green and Whites 32-26 at Castle Park in September go into the game on a high having beaten Leinster A at Donnybrook last weekend to book their place in the quarter-finals of the B&I Cup.

“It was a fantastic team effort to win over there. I can’t find the last time they lost at home in the competition,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

“A lot of the credit has to go to Glen Kenworthy and Paul Cooke for the way they prepared the team because I had to take a bit of a back seat due to being involved in contract negotiations.”

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Although Knights have got the better of Nottingham since the 2014-15 season, a lot of the games have been close and Griffiths admits that could be the case on Sunday in a game the result of which could go a long way towards deciding the two clubs’ respective top-four prospects.

“We’ll obviously be hoping to build on the Leinster game,” said Griffiths. “We had a 77 per cent completion rate in possession and we completed 96 per cent in defence and you can’t ask for much better figures than that.”

Despite lying in a challenging sixth position, Notts, who have been as high at third, haven’t won a league game since beating second-placed Ealing at home in November.

“They’ve had a bit of a mixed season and I’m not sure what to expect on Sunday,” said the Welshman.

“I thought they kicked a lot in their last league game against London Scottish in late December and I thought that contributed to their downfall on the day.

“I just felt it wasn’t them on that occasion because they are normally a well rounded team. So whether they will try something different against us I don’t know, so we’ve worked on a couple of game plans this week.”

Griffiths will be checking on several players, including former Nottingham favourite Alex Shaw and flanker Jack Ram, today before finalising his squad for the relatively short trip down the M1.

Prop Colin Quigley, who went for a scan on the neck problem that has sidelined him in recent games, will again be missing as will centre Andy Bulumakau.

But skipper Michael Hills, rested last week because the game was played on a 4G pitch, will come back into contention as will second-rower Morgan Eames and wing Curtis Wilson, who both suffered from a sickness bug in the build-up to the Leinster game.