Hartpury v Doncaster Knights preview including head-to-head, dangermen and club links

Doncaster Knights return to action in the Championship at Hartpury on Saturday at 1.30pm.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 5:00 am
Doncaster Knights. Photo: John Ashton

Jamie Crawford has previewed the match at the ALPAS Arena.

About Hartpury University RFC

Hartpury were formed in 2004 and offer places in their team to professional rugby players as well as their own students.

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They have strong links with Aviva Premiership side Gloucester Rugby, whose training base is located adjacent to the first team pitch at Hartpury.

As a visitor it is a lovely rural setting with usually a small but very friendly crowd. The level, wide and fast pitch should suit Knights’ backs.

Head-to-head

Knights were 32-21 winners at Harpury last season.

The season before Knights did the double, winning 44-22 at Castle Park and 20-8 in the reverse fixture.

However, Doncaster did go down 37-24 in an away Championship Cup match in December 2019.

Last time out

Knights beat Richmond 37-5 to make it three wins out of three at Castle Park.

Hartpury lost 32-17 against third-placed Jersey Reds. The Reds’ efficient and effective lineout drive led to three of their five tries, plus Hartpury’s penalty count was too high.

Knights sit fourth in the table, while Hartpury are seventh.

Dangermen

Centre/fly half James Williams is dangerous with his boot and is the fourth highest points scorer in the Championship.

Flanker Harry Short and hooker William Crane were the Championship’s equal second highest try scorers before the last game played.

Hartpury are the joint second highest try scorers in the Championship with Bedford Blues, scored over 60 per cent more tries than Doncaster.

Tries have been scored equally between forwards and backs with the front row unusually scoring the majority of their tries – so the Knights must be wary of pushover tries from set pieces either by the front row barrelling over or by flanker Short or hooker Crane peeling off the melee to score.

Strengths/weaknesses

Over half of the tries conceded by Hartpury this season have been scored by forwards, particularly the front and back rows. So the Knights want to look at scoring in a similar way that they must be wary of conceding – off the set piece.

Club links

Ex-Knights utility back Charlie Foley joined Hartpury pre-season to join his brother winger Ben.

Ex-Knights player/manager Derek Eves’ son Luke Eves plays centre for Hartpury after signing from Premiership outfit Bristol Bears.