Doncaster Knights v Nottingham – Fans’ return can bring out best in Knights
Head coach Steve Boden has urged his Doncaster Knights side to finish a “unique” season in style and give their returning fans a perfect welcome – and send-off.
For the first time in 440 days, supporters will return to Castle Park this afternoon, just in time for the final game of the Championship season against Nottingham
Doncaster have been one of the surprise packages, holding second spot for much of the campaign up until last week.
Defeat at play-off finalists Ealing Trailfinders leaves them third but another win today will secure that – and a best finish since 2016 – regardless of what fourth-placed Cornish Pirates do.
Boden said: “Without doubt, this 2020/21 season has been a huge journey for the club. We brought in a brand new group of players and coaches with the aim of rebuilding the club and the trust of supporters.
“I am very proud of the effort shown by this group and the environment that has been created as well as the results produced on the field.
“We know we can cement third place on Saturday and that is our aim as we go up against Nottingham.
“But we will need to be at our very best to realise that ambition.
“Nottingham are much improved and have really got going in these last few weeks, getting back to back wins against Richmond and Bedford.
“It is no surprise. Neil Fowkes is a very highly-regarded coach and what he has achieved at Nottingham has rightly earned him an opportunity to coach in the Premiership with Wasps next season.”
While looking forward to enjoying a beer with Knights fans after today’s game, work is already well underway for the 2021-22 campaign.
Ex-Bristol back-row Sam Graham and former Wales Under 20s centre Connor Edwards have both agreed new contracts that will keep them at the club for another two seasons.
Boden said: “I am delighted Sam Graham has re-signed.
“His performances this year have been outstanding and he’s becoming a great leader within our environment.
“We still feel Sam is nowhere near his full potential which is really, really exciting.
“Connor has really been a great addition to our ranks, too (since arrving on loan from Dragons in March).
“He’s a great character within our group which is very important and brings a physical edge to our back line.”