Doncaster Knights: Coach Steve Boden insists Knights still going in the right direction
Doncaster Knights could need to beat Hartpury on Saturday to guarantee their place in the quarter-finals of the Championship Cup.
Knights’ hopes of finishing runners-up in Pool 2, which carries automatic qualification, were dashed when Jersey beat Hartpury and they lost 43-14 at home to leaders Newcastle Falcons.
Knights now face a three-way battle to claim one of the two third-placed spots up for grabs.
Although disappointed with the result, assistant coach Steve Boden said: “I thought the score flattered them. We were certainly unlucky to be behind at the interval because we’d been the better team.
“They scored again early in the second half but we got it back to 22-14 and we were back in the game again but then we made a couple of errors – including an interception – and we got punished.”
Falcons’ director of rugby, former England No 8 Dean Richards, admitted the margin of victory probably flattered his side.
“We knew we had to up the tempo in the second half because we hadn’t had much ball in the first and to be honest when we did have it we hadn’t done that much with it,” he said. “I thought Doncaster probably had the better of the first half (even though we led 17-7) at the break.”
“I certainly thought it was another gutsy performance and we’ve got to take the positives, of which there were many, out of the game.,” said Boden. “We are still missing a bit of quality but we are going in the right direction.”
Despite Knights’ attacking play having improved of late, Boden claimed: “Tactically nothing has changed.
“It’s just the fact that we’ve got a few players back such as Matt Challinor and Rory Pitman and we’ve also signed the likes of Wian Conradie and Fotu Lokotui,” he said.
“If you have players who can carry the ball forward then it creates the chance to play expansive rugby. As the old adage says: you’ve got to go forward to go wide.
“We got in behind them, as we did against Jersey, and put pressure on them but on most occasions we failed to capitalise for various reasons and that’s something we’ve got to learn to do better going forward.”