'A fair result' - Richard Horne reacts to Dons' draw with Whitehaven

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Doncaster RLFC boss Richard Horne had more reason to be happy than his Whitehaven counterpart after the two sides shared the spoils from an entertaining 25-25 Betfred Championship draw at the Eco-Power Stadium.

“It was probably a fair result,” said Horne. “It’s frustrating not to have won but to be 18-4 down at half-time and to come away with something is pleasing. It would have hurt had we not come away with something.

“The point we picked up means that we maintain our place in mid-table - where it is very tight - ahead of a very testing run of away games.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Both points had looked to be heading back to Cumbria at half-time but a change of tactics saw Horne’s side score three tries without reply to lead 20-18 at one stage.

Richard Horne. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.comRichard Horne. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.com
Richard Horne. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.com

“We played a lot of pretty football in the first half without really testing their defence enough,” said Horne. “I still felt that we were in the game at half-time if we could get things right and we spoke about being more direct in key areas and that brought us some joy.

“But having worked really hard to get ourselves in front we then we dropped the ball from the kick-off and they scored direct from the resulting set and we were back behind again and chasing the game.

“It was a bit of a roller-coaster for both teams at times in the last quarter and it was a question of who was going to do their best to lose the game rather than win it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Both teams were around the 50-60 per cent completion rate (in the closing stages) and if we could have just put a couple of sets together and put them under a bit of pressure we could have won it.”

The Dons had prop Keelan Foster back in action after several weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury but lacked the services of in-form front-rower Suaia Matagi due to a one-match suspension.

“We could have done with him both in attack and defence because they were a big team and it’s hard to defend the line when you’ve got a succession of big bodies coming towards if you haven’t got your defensive line set,” said Horne.

With Tyla Hepi ruled out for the season the Dons drafted in Leigh forward Nathan Wilde on loan.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I thought Nathan was outstanding and played big minutes in what was his first game since dislocating his collar bone,” said Horne. “I’d like to keep him for a bit longer but Leigh also have their injury problems.”

Watson Boas, Loui McConnell and Luke Briscoe all picked up injuries in the game and they could be doubtful for the trip to Toulouse on Saturday week.