Doncaster Knights facing injury crisis ahead of Championship Cup clash at home to Jersey Reds
Just when Doncaster Knights’ director of rugby Clive Griffiths thought things couldn’t get any worse following Sunday’s 57-0 defeat at Newcastle, they have.
“Last year we regularly had half-a-dozen player on the sidelines almost every week and we could have ten out this week,” said Griffiths.
“I’ve never known anything like it in all my time in the game.”
Another handful have joined Cam Cowell, Dougie Flockhart, Jack Roberts, Tom Calladine - none of whom have played in the club’s opening two Championship Cup games - on the sidelines.
Back-rower Sam Jones failed a HIA in midweek, prop Marc Thomas is also out and Michael Hills has suffered a recurrence of a heel injury.
Morgan Eames (shoulder/hip) is set to face a late fitness test today as is wing Kyle Evans (concussion), centre Pete Lucock (dead leg) and utility-back Lloyd Hayes (flu-type) symptoms.
Both Andrew Foster and Matt Challinor picked up knocks in training yesterday but both are expected to be available but back-rower Ollie Stedman continues his suspension.
“I’ve not been off the phone all week trying to bring players in on loan but I’ve only managed one so far – fly-half Johnny McPhillips from Leicester Tigers - because it’s the Premiership Cup this weekend and a lot of clubs are playing their fringe players because they have players involved in the World Cup,” said Griffiths.
Knights take on a Jersey side also with a 50-50 record from their two opening games.
“They dug in against Newcastle when going down 21-8 against them at home but Newcastle didn’t play anywhere near as well as they played against us, and beat Hartpury last weekend though not as convincingly as we did,” said Griffiths.
“They are a young enthusiastic side who like to throw the ball about and that is the sort of game we have planned for in training this week.
“We’ve analysed them to nth degree but once the players cross the whitewash you are relying on them to execute the things the coaching staff have asked them to do which wasn’t the case at Kingston Park.
“It’s our last game before the start of the league campaign at Hartpury next weekend and we want to go into that game on the back of a win which would see us end the first block of Championship Cup Pool 2 games in second place.”