Doncaster Knights to apply for Premiership audit

Doncaster Knights are set to apply for promotion to the Premiership – in the event of them winning the Championship.

Doncaster Knights head coach Steve Boden
Doncaster Knights head coach Steve Boden

Knights hope to build on last term’s third place finish although head coach Steve Boden has warned that the club must also be realistic given their limited financial resources.

Doncaster’s season got off to a disappointing start with a 39-22 defeat at Coventry on Saturday.

Nevertheless, Boden has suggested that Knights as a club would be open to the idea of challenging themselves at elite level should they win this season’s Championship and be eligible for promotion.

This season’s champions will join an expanded 14-team Premiership next year.

“It’s really encouraging that the owners want to put the club forward for the Premiership audit,” Boden said.

“I think we’ll probably apply for that and it’s the right thing for the club.

“As a player, that’s just what you want to hear; people have the ambition to go for it and it does give us a chance.

“I think the big issue for whoever gets up still remains, though, and that’s that financially it’s not a level playing field. That needs to change.

“Where realism is needed also is that we know Ealing spends about five times as much as we do on playing budget.

“But what hasn’t altered for us is we want to go out and win every game. That doesn’t alter whether Sarries are in here or Ealing or whoever.

Knights came close to winning promotion in 2016 when they narrowly lost the two-legged play-off final to Bristol.

The following year they again reached the play-offs but announced before a ball had been kicked in the end of season competition that they would not be going up.

Clubs wishing to play in the Premiership must fulfil a list of criteria set down by the Professional Game Board and agreed with the RFU Championship.

This covers areas such as stadia, club administration, community development programmes, ground tenure and ground moves, facilities, medical and safety, marketing, plans to increase attendances, adherence to the salary cap and playing and contractual commitments.