Doncaster RLFC: 'We've shown we're not far away' - Richard Horne takes positives from another last gasp defeat
Doncaster RLFC suffered a second last-minute defeat in five days at Featherstone’s LD Nutrition Stadium.
Just when the Dons looked to have booked their place in the semi-finals of the inaugural 1895 Cup, the final of which will be played at Wembley Stadium, Sheffield Eagles scored a converted try to claim a remarkable 32-28 quarter-final victory.
The better side for long periods of the game, the Dons had led 28-12 at one stage in the second half and missed an injury-time chance prior to Eagles scoring with the last play of an entertaining game.
“We got out of jail,” admitted Sheffield boss Mark Aston. “Doncaster deserved to win. They had the better players and more energy.”
Dons boss Richard Horne admitted that the defeat, coming so quickly after seeing his side beaten by a last-minute drop in the league against Newcastle was hard to take.
“They got on a roll and scored two quickly-taken tries (after getting it back to 28-16) in the final quarter,” he said.
“We thought we’d survived but we surrendered possession when we forced a pass on their line trying to score we didn’t need to score and they came up with a special try to win the game.
“Back-to-back last-minute defeats are tough for the boys to take – but we’ve shown that we aren’t a million miles away against two good sides and with a bit better game management we could have won them both.”
Despite his disappointment Horne said that there were a lot of positives his side could take from the game against their high-flying Championship derby rivals.
“We played some good rugby and shaped up well and going forward that is how we have to be starting with Saturday’s league game at Coventry,” he said.
Full-back Jordan Howden, who came off in the first half, faces several weeks on the sidelines after picking up a rib injury.
Doncaster CEO Carl Hall has called for the RFL to look at playing the early rounds of next season’s competition prior to the start of the Championship and League One campaigns to avoid having to play ties in midweek later in the season.