Ace Paul Jarvis could give Doncaster Knights winning hand in play-offs

Paul Jarvis
Paul Jarvis

Full-back Paul Jarvis could prove to be the ace up Clive Griffiths' sleeve in the forthcoming Championship play-offs.

Jarvis missed out on Saturday's Championship defeat against London Irish at the weekend with his place in Doncaster Knights side being taken by Sean Scanlon, possibly playing his last game for the club prior to joining Nottingham.

But Jarvis is set to return to the side for their play-off semi-final first-leg against the Exiles at Castle Park on Sunday week.

Left out of the Doncaster side as a precaution due to a collar-bone injury, Jarvis took the opportunity during Saturday’s game to look for any weaknesses in the Exiles’ renowned defence that he could exploit in the two play-off games.

“They’ve got a great defence and don’t really commit a lot of players to the rucks so there’s not a lot of space out wide, but I’ll give it a good crack,” said the 28 year-old.

“We’ll have to match them up front and they’ve got a lot of big boys. But if you can ride a few of those big hits then they open up a little bit.

“They play basic rugby really well and you have to stay switched on all the time or they will punish you. But if we can do that then we’ve definitely got a chance.

“It’s going to be a different game to Saturday in the play-offs and we’ll need to have a different mentality.

“We are the underdogs but we’ve shown in recent seasons that we can beat anyone on our day.”

Jarvis admits that there are lessons to be learned from last weekend.

He also welcomes the fact, due to the B&I Cup final between Munster A - who topped Knights’ group - and Jersey being played this weekend that there is a fortnight between the end of the regular season and the start of the play-offs.

“It gives us longer to prepare for the game and it also gives anyone who took a knock at the weekend another week to get over it,” he said.

“The break also gives players like me, who missed Saturday’s game, a bit more time to get over an injury.

“We seem to have had a lot of blank weekends this season due to London Welsh folding and the fact we didn’t qualify for the knockout stages of the B&I Cup.

“But it’s not really a problem at this stage of the season - as it can be at other times - to retain momentum because most players are carrying knocks and welcome any rest they can get.”

n Knights’ End of Season Awards Dinner takes place at Castle Park tonight (7.30pm).

Tickets, priced £30 per head or £300 for a table of 12, are available by calling 01302 831388.