Doncaster Knights: Half-back targeting victory against London Scottish

During another Championship season blighted by injuries, Knights’ half-back pairing Sam Olver and Tom James have bucked the trend.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 9:00 am
Doncaster Knights v Jersey Reds. Doncaster's Tom James, pictured. NDFP-05-10-19-KnightsvJerseyReds-7
Doncaster Knights v Jersey Reds. Doncaster's Tom James, pictured. NDFP-05-10-19-KnightsvJerseyReds-7

The pair have been virtually ever-present in what have frequently been much-changed teams.

Which is just as well as the two men form one of the best half-back partnerships in the division.

“When you play together at half-back on a regular basis it helps give you consistency,” said James.

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Their continued durability is seen as vital to Knights’ hopes of salvaging something from what has been a largely disappointing campaign so far.

Tongan international fly-half Kurt Morath departed earlier in the season following an injury he sustained in the World Cup in Japan, and the only other recognised No 10 on the club’s books is utility-back Charlie Foley.

The only other scrum-half on the books is former Academy prospect Sam Pocklington.

“I think Sam has impressed everyone,” said James. “He’s only a young lad but he is learning all the time and we do a lot of work together in training and were he to be required to step in for me (between now and the end of the season) I’m sure he’d do a great job. He’s definitely one to watch in the future.”

Knights will be looking to get back on track following the defeat at Ampthill when they entertain London Scottish on Saturday (2.30pm).

“It was a disappointing result because with no disrespect to either side, we had targeted three wins from the games against Nottingham, who we beat, Ampthill and London Scottish,” said James.

“We felt that three wins, particularly if we were also able to pick up some bonus points, would change the picture looking back on the first half of the season.

“A win on Saturday would help banish all fears of relegation, but going forward we aren’t going to be happy in the knowledge that we are safe: we want to be challenging for a top-six spot at least.

“I certainly feel that we are a top-six side when the majority of the squad is fit.

“It’s difficult for the backs to shine if we are on the backfoot and we’ve struggled in the line-out at times this season. But we are getting players back and if we can put a run together there is no reason why we can’t get into the top half.”