Doncaster Knights: Rory Pitman eagerly awaiting derby clash at Yorkshire Carnegie
Doncaster Knights will be looking to give their supporters an early Christmas present by making a winning return to Championship rugby in Sunday’s derby against Yorkshire Carnegie at Headingley (3pm).
Cash-strapped Carnegie have yet to win any game this season and currently prop up a league table which shows Knights also languishing in the bottom three.
After regularly having up to a dozen players sidelined, the picture is starting to look much brighter for Knights, who have also made several astute signings,
Back-rower Rory Pitman is one of the players to have made a recent return to form after a lengthy spell out on the sidelines, owing to a sternum injury
“It’s lovely to be back playing again,” Pitman said.
“Obviously it has been a bit different for me playing in the second row due to injuries. You need different skills to the back-row to play there.”
With former Carnegie second-rower Matt Smith back in training again, Pitman could be back in a more familiar position this weekend as Knights look to end a run of five successive defeats.
“It’s massive game for us,” he said.
“We know we have to beat Carnegie and we are going there with that intention.
“After playing so well against Newcastle the previous week we had hoped to be going into Sunday’s game on the back of a win at Hartpury at the weekend.
“We targeted doing well in the Championship Cup at the start of the season and we’ve managed to scrape into the quarter-finals though we had hoped to finish in the top two in our pool. We’ve probably let ourselves down in that respect.
“But now it’s time to focus on the league again.
“We want to finish the year off on a high and then hopefully kick on in the second half of the season.”
Pitman concedes that Knights need to push on in the league now, starting with Sunday’s derby clash.
“We aren’t where we want to be in the league and we shouldn’t be there because we’ve got a great squad.
“But we’ve had some terrible injury problems – particularly in the forwards – and obviously losing (centre) Pete Lucock for the rest of the campaign so early in the season was a massive blow. It’s not been easy but we’ve rolled our sleeves up and every player has added something. The spirit has been brilliant.”