Cornish Pirates v Doncaster Knights: Team news and build-up ahead of Knights' trip to third-placed Pirates

Doncaster Knights are hoping to avoid being sunk by Cornish Pirates for a second time this season when they make the long trip to Mennaye Field tomorrow ahead of Sunday’s Championship clash (2.30pm).

Friday, 7th February 2020, 10:43 am
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 10:43 am
Picture: Blueline Photography
Picture: Blueline Photography

With storm-force winds and heavy rain forecast for the area, director of rugby Clive Griffiths said: “If that turns out to be the case we’ll have to adapt our tactics accordingly in what is likely to be a game of two halves. The kicking game will certainly be important.”

Pirates dropped a place to third following their narrow defeat at Coventry, who remain unbeaten at the Butts Park Arena.

But only unbeaten leaders Newcastle have beaten them at home this season – though both Hartpury and Bedford Blues have run them close and picked up a losing bonus point.

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“They’ve spent a lot of money and have put a good squad together,” said the Welshman. “They are a strong all-round side and we are going to have to play well to come away with anything.”

Although Mennaye Field is traditionally regarded as being one of the toughest places in the Championship for visiting teams, Knights boast a better record down there in recent years than at Castle Park.

Pirates claimed a fourth successive win at Castle Park at the start of the league campaign when posting a flattering 44-25 victory with Argentinean international fly-half Javier Rojas Alverez capping an outstanding performance with a 24-point haul.

Knights go into the game in seventh place but with just one point separating the four sides immediately below them they could drop down several places if they come away empty-handed.

“I think there is going to be quite a bit of movement over the next few games,” said Griffiths.

The game marks the first game of the second half of the season with Griffiths, who will step down at the end of the campaign, still hoping to go out on a high.

“If we can win five of our six home games and pick up the odd away win, then we could be challenging for a top-four spot at the end of the season which was one of our targets in September,” he said.

Knights were due to check on several players at today’s training session before finalising their squad but veteran prop Colin Quigley, who failed a subsequent HIA after returning to action, and back-rower Tom Calladine are both set to be ruled out after picking up knocks in the win over London Scottish.