Doncaster Knights set to front up to early leaders Jersey Reds
Doncaster Knights will be hoping for some home comfort when they welcome early Championship leaders Jersey Reds to Castle Park on Saturday.
Steve Boden’s side suffered a second successive away defeat last weekend, going down 31-23 at Bedford Blues.
Knights bounced back from a disappointing opening day defeat at Coventry with victory against struggling London Scottish on home soil.
But the visit of free-scoring Jersey will be a significantly tougher test than their previous outing at Castle Park and could provide an early gauge as to whether Doncaster’s revamped squad are capable of repeating last season’s third place finish.
Jersey topped the table after the opening two rounds of fixtures and remain at the summit despite not playing last weekend. They are the only unbeaten side in the division and, despite only playing twice, have scored more points (87) than any of their rivals.
The Reds have also scored the most tries in the Championship after running in seven in their opening day 47-7 win at London Scottish and another six in a 40-28 victory at home to Bedford.
Stopping Jersey’s powerful pack will be fundamental to Knights’ chances of returning to winning ways. Almost 40 per cent of the Reds’ tries this season have been scored by forwards and they are certain to target push-over tries from close range.
Former Knights scrum half James Mitchell returns to Castle Park having impressed so far this season in the colours of his new club.
The former England Under 20 international earned plenty of plaudits for his performance in the win over Bedford and kicked three conversions for good measure.
Knights find themselves ninth in the early standings, although a bonus point win this weekend could draw them level on points with Jersey such is the congested nature of the table.
Doncaster are also the third highest points scorers, behind Jersey and Nottingham, despite their underwhelming start.
Promotion favourites Ealing Trailfinders suffered a surprise 15-12 defeat at Cornish Pirates last weekend.
n Statistics courtesy of Jamie Crawford.