Doncaster RLFC crash to heavy defeat at London Broncos in Challenge Cup

Doncaster RLFC flattered to deceive in their Betfred Rugby League Challenge Cup fourth round tie against Championship outfit London Broncos.
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The Dons entertained realistic hopes of avenging their 64-0 cup defeat against the former Super League club back in 1999, after coming back from 12-0 to level the scores at 16-16 by the interval thanks to tries by Hey, Corion and Ollett-Hobson.

But the unbeaten League One side conceded 50 points without reply in a one-sided second half as the Broncos romped to a sixth successive win over them.

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As was the case in last season’s 60-0 home defeat against Whitehaven, the size of the defeat empathized the growing gulf between the two divisions outside of Super League and underlined the size of the task facing the club should they claim promotion this season.

Photo: Rob TerracePhoto: Rob Terrace
Photo: Rob Terrace

Head coach Richard Horne, who left out several players to protect their joints on the 3G pitch, in a tie switched from Broncos’ normal ground to Rosslyn Park RFC’s ground, had plenty of time to reflect on what went wrong on the long journey home.

But his thoughts quickly turned the club’s Easter Saturday League One clash against Cornwall and more testing fixtures in the following weeks.

Said Horne: “We’ve tried to rotate the squad to keep everyone match fit to date but probably from the Cornwall game onwards, barring injuries, we’ll looking to stay with the same 17 because that is the only way we are going to get combinations working well and a bit more flow to what we are doing.”

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The Dons will travel down on Good Friday, with Horne confident that his charges can extend their unbeaten start to their league campaign even though the home side will be buoyed after claiming their first home win since joining the league last season when beating fellow strugglers London Skolars last time out.

“I think it’s all about attitude when you go down there and applying yourselves because there is a tendency to think ‘It’s only Cornwall’ but they scored first last season and it took us 15-20 minutes to get our foot in the game and then kick-on and win,” said Horne.

Like a lot of people within the game who questioned the viability of a team based in Cornwall, Horne has concerns about the player pool.

“I think Cornwall thought it was going to be easier than it has turned out to be the case recruiting local rugby union players because it is too hard for people who have played union all their lives to quickly adapt to rugby league,” he said. “It’s a completely different game.

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“They are bringing in lads from places such as Castleford and Leeds which is certainly not an ideal because unless they have moved down there they are unlikely to have trained with the rest of the team.”