Doncaster Knights must 'stick to the process' in pivotal Ealing Trailfinders clash

Doncaster Knights backs coach Joe Ford has urged his side to “enjoy” today’s crucial top-of-the-table clash with Ealing Trailfinders.

By Dave Craven
Saturday, 26th February 2022, 10:01 am
John Kelly is blocked during Doncaster Knights' win over Ealing Trailfinders earlier in the season. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD
John Kelly is blocked during Doncaster Knights' win over Ealing Trailfinders earlier in the season. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD

The Championship leaders know that completing the double over the pre-season promotion favourites will leave them in prime position to potentially secure that all-important first place.

Doncaster will have just two more fixtures remaining after this afternoon’s contest in London and Cornish Pirates and Jersey Reds are both also in contention for top spot in an intriguing finish.

However, the unfancied Knights keep on winning and also have the knowledge they have already beaten Ealing at Castle Park earlier this season.

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“The toughest thing is not changing a lot,” said Ford, who knows just five points separate all the top-four sides.

“Obviously, there is no hiding away from how big the game is.

“The one thing we have done all season is just stick to a process.

“Again, it’s been about going through that again this week and then getting to the game and putting that in place.”

On what emotion is uppermost, the ex-Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks and Yorkshire Carnegie fly-half, said: “Excitement, I guess. It’s been a long season and if you’re lucky you get to play in these kinds of games at the business end.

“We’ve been lucky enough and earned the right to be in this position.

“We have to be excited and go enjoy it now.”

Ealing know they can ill-afford to slip up again and Ford admitted: “They have a lot (of strengths). They are an aspiring Premiership outfit and have been for a number of years now so they have got the squad to do that.

“So we have just got to really focus on ourselves as if we start worrying about them we’ll have sleepless nights.

“They are obviously very big and they will try and come around the corner so we have to front up there and then take our opportunities as we won’t get many.

“They have a certain way of playing and don’t change much.”

Knights head coach Steve Boden makes three changes to the starting XV who, crucially, won at the death against Hartpury.

Up front, the second row combines John Kelly and Ben Murphy while the back-row welcomes Sam Hudson back alongside captain Sam Graham and Thom Smith.

In the backs, the lone change sees scrum-half Alex Dolly regain his starting berth to partner Sam Olver at fly-half.