Doncaster Knights to embrace challenge of facing star-studded Saracens

Doncaster Knights will test themselves against some of the best players on the planet when Saracens visit Castle Park on Sunday (3pm) – and head coach Steve Boden will expect his men to embrace the challenge and not fear it.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 9:34 am
Saracens' Maro Itoje and Sean Maitland, pictured in action against Bedford, could line up against Knights on Sunday. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola were just two of the five internationals who returned to a re-energised Sarries side that beat Bedford Blues 54-13 last weekend.

Knights may have won five out of five in this season’s shortened Greene King IPA Championship but Saracens’ star-studded teamsheet will read like something from another rugby stratosphere – although Boden insists he would not want it any other way.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “There’s potentially going to be seven British & Irish Lions on the field for Saracens.

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“All of their international stars are back in the fold.

“We’ve got some guys that were playing university rugby last year and we’ve picked them up from National One.

“It’s a brilliant experience for those guys. We’ve gone with a young, hungry, ambitious sort of side and they’ve got an opportunity to showcase their talent against a benchmark which is the elite of Europe.

“It’s brilliant for them and I’m happy about it too because if you’re going to perform against Sarries you don’t want people to say ‘it’s not their best side’.

“We want to play against the best that they’ve got and we’ll be doing that this weekend.”

One of the biggest games in Knights’ history is also tinged with sadness. Fans remain locked out of Castle Park due to coronavirus restrictions and will be watching online.

“I’m gutted that the supporters can’t be there because we’re putting in the foundations to rebuild the club,” said Boden.

“We can’t get carried away with five wins from five because a lot of them have only by a point or two. We need to keep our feet on the ground and remember we are rebuilding.

“It’s just a shame that with what’s going on and some of the results we’re getting and performances we’re putting in that we haven’t got Castle Park bouncing.

“It’s a shame the fans won’t be there to see it this weekend but just to have that calibre of player down at Castle Park, crowd or no crowd, it’s exciting.”