Doncaster Knights aim to consolidate top spot against Hartpury

Table-topping Doncaster Knights welcome Hartpury to Castle Park on Saturday (2.30pm).

By Jamie Crawford
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 17th February 2022, 11:10 am
Doncaster Knights are top of the Championship. Photo: John Ashton
Doncaster Knights are top of the Championship. Photo: John Ashton

Knights returned to the Championship summit with a dramatic win at Richmond last weekend.

Hartpury now stand between Steve Boden’s in-form side and an eighth straight league win.

Doncaster currently have a one-point lead over Jersey Reds at the top and four games left to play.

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Third-placed Ealing Trailfinders and fourth-placed Cornish Pirates trail the leaders by three and four points respectively having both played two games fewer.

Here’s our at-a-glance guide to this weekend’s game...

About the opposition

Hartpury University Rugby Club won promotion from National League 1 in 2017.

They finished tenth in their first season in the Championship and ninth last season.

Ex-Barbarian and ex-Knights player/coach Derek Eves’ son Luke plays centre for Hartpury.

Head-to-head

Knights have won six of the last seven meetings between these sides.

They were 20-15 victors in the reverse fixture in November.

Last time out

Knights recorded their seventh successive win in dramatic fashion as Charlie Connolly’s last gasp try secured a 33-30 victory at Richmond.

Hartpury were extremely unlucky to score five tries and still lose 31-40 to Jersey Reds.

Dangermen

Mitch Eadie, an ex-Premiership back row with Bristol Bears and Northampton Saints, is one to watch due to his breaking of tackles and quality of play.

Fly half/centre James Williams has scored the highest number of points in the Championship.

Verdict

Hartpury have scored the third highest number of points away from home in the Championship so clearly represent a threat to Doncaster.

Players such as Eadie and Harry Short are easily capable of breaking tackles and opening gaps in the defence for smaller players to exploit.

Knights must also be wary of players such as William Crane and Toby Venner breaking off the set piece to score tries.

Ealing Trailfinders and Cornish Pirates both have potentially tricky away games this weekend so this is not the time for Knights to slip up.

Fixtures

Nottingham v London Scottish, Bedford Blues v Cornish Pirates, Jersey Reds v Ealing Trailfinders, Ampthill v Richmond.