Doncaster Knights on verge of Championship Cup exit

Ollie Stedman suffered an injury during the Knights' defeat to Coventry
Ollie Stedman suffered an injury during the Knights' defeat to Coventry

Doncaster Knights will miss out on a place in the Championship Cup quarter-finals if they finish empty-handed in their final Pool 1 game at home to Nottingham on Saturday.

The Green & Whites, who picked up a losing bonus point after going down 27-22 at home to Yorkshire Carnegie on Sunday, could pip Knights, who are three points clear in third place, for one of the two best third-placed spots up for grabs if they win at Castle Park.

If the two teams finish level on points then third place would be decided by which team has scored most tries or failing that who has the best points difference.

Knights had to settle for two bonus points from a 31-29 defeat against Coventry at the Butts Park Arena the previous day.

“We can’t seem to put two good halves together at the moment and we are like Jekyll & Hide in that we can beat anyone on our day and we can also lose to anyone,“ said director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

“We need to start playing well for at least 60 minutes,” added the Welshman reflecting upon the fact that Knights have been the better side for 40 minutes of each of their last three group games – all lost - but have let themselves down in the other 40 minutes.

“We were terrible in the first half away to Yorkshire Carnegie but played well in the second half,” he said. “We played really well in the first half in the return and led at half-time, as was the case at Coventry at the weekend, only to end up losing after disappointing second half displays.

“Once again it is individual errors which are costing us and it has left me scratching my head.”

He added: “Other things are also conspiring against us. New signing Mike Mayhew had to pull out with a knee injury he picked up in training after being named in the side and we had to pull fly-half Kurt Morath out after he suffered a groin injury in the warm-up.

“We also lost back-rower Ollie Stedman with an eye injury in the first half. Adding to all that were decisions which went against us although I have no problem with either Charlie Foley’s disallowed first half try or Dougie Flockhart’s yellow card for a high tackle.

“Having said that we paid the price for having two players sin-binned in the second half and they got well away from us before we rallied at the end and picked up the two bonus points.”