Doncaster Knights v Nottingham: Team news and build-up as Knights bid to move away from relegation spot

Doncaster Knights hooker Ben Hunter could be a doubt for Saturday’s Championship derby against Nottingham at Castle Park (2.30pm).

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:48 am
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:49 am
Ben Hunter

Hunter, who was rested in last weekend’s game at Newcastle, was under the weather earlier this week and the coaching staff were due to check on him when the players reported back today after yesterday’s day off.

But with former Academy player Will Holling, who made an impressive starting debut at Championship level at Kingston Park, and George Edgson both available the club are well covered.

Fears that fly-half Sam Olver could miss the game after taking a knock to the head in first-half stoppage time at Kingston Park, which led to him being replaced in the second half, have been allayed and he is available for selection.

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“A couple of other players also picked up knocks and they are also okay, which is good news,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

“Second-rower Morgan Eames has also shown no adverse reaction to his comeback game but Matt Smith, who we hope will be fit for next weekend, is again ruled out.”

Saturday’s game is the first of three games Griffiths says could define the club’s season.

“They are all winnable games and if we can win all three then that would see us safe from relegation even though we are not even at the half-way stage of the season,” he said. “Even ten points would put us in a strong position.

“However, we don’t just want to ease our relegation fears: we want to start climbing the table.”

The Green & Whites dropped into the bottom four last weekend after suffering a narrow home defeat against Ealing and other results going against them but Griffiths is expecting a tough game.

“They are a good team and well organised,” he said. “They’ve got a solid scrum and a good catch-and-drive and they’ve got a good midfield with some pace.

“I think it will be a pretty even game but if we can build on the performance up at Newcastle and the crowd get behind us then hopefully we can get over the line.

“It’s our first home game for six weeks and we want to try and put on a show for the supporters but first and foremost it’s all about picking up a win.”