Doncaster Knights: Griffiths says Knights must bring their A-game for clash with Newcastle Falcons

Doncaster Knights could hardly have asked for a tougher game than entertaining Newcastle Falcons at Castle Park this Saturday (2.30pm).

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 9:00 am
Namibia's back row Wian Conradie attends a captain's run training session in Tokyo stadium in Tokyo on October 4, 2019, during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images).
Namibia's back row Wian Conradie attends a captain's run training session in Tokyo stadium in Tokyo on October 4, 2019, during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images).

The relegated Premiership side currently top the Championship table and are also leading the way in Knights’ group in the Championship Cup.

Knights lost second spot to Jersey after their defeat in the Channel Islands.

And they could now be facing a battle to qualify for the knock-out stages next year by being one of the best two third-placed teams.

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“We’ve probably got to be looking at trying to finish on 17 points to be in with a chance of second spot,” admitted director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

“Ideally we need to try and pick up something this weekend and then claim a bonus point win at Hartpury.

"We could get into the last-eight by the back door but that would result in us being away against one of the top sides which is not an ideal situation.”

Falcons, who have regularly helped Knights out with loan players in recent years when injuries have left them struggling, romped to a 57-0 win when the two sides met up at Kingston Park in late September.

Understandably perhaps, they will start as overwhelming favourites to complete the double.

Saturday’s game is expected to be played out in front of the biggest crowd of the season at Castle Park.

“We caught them on a very good day up there - they had been terrible the previous week when struggling to beat Jersey - and we had a mixed team because of injuries and we had no answer to them,” said Griffiths.

“If they bring their A-game to Castle Park on Saturday it will again be very difficult for us.

“We’ve got to bring our A-game because if we don’t then it could be a similar sort of score given the quality of their squad.”

Former Newcastle full-back Cam Cowell, who was gutted to miss the game at Kingston Park earlier this season due to injury, is expected to be available this weekend after missing the trip to Jersey due to a family bereavement.

Namibian international back-rower Wian Conradie could make his home debut.