Doncaster Knights will take a break from their efforts to regain a top-four spot in the Championship for the next two weekends as they resume their bid to win the B&I Cup for the first time.
Knights host Cardiff Blues Select XV on Saturday buoyed by a spirited display in defeat against unbeaten league leaders Bristol.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice at Ealing the previous week and we weren’t competitive at all,” said long-serving prop Richard List.
“We got a lot of things wrong and we were determined to put a bit of pride back into the shirt and put in a performance that we could be proud of and something we could take into this weekend and I think we did that.
“We only trailed 13-10 at the interval and we’d put ourselves into a position to be very competitive in the second half. But they scored the first try and that put them on the front foot and we were just scrapping to get back in the game really after that.
“But we stuck at it and the lads all gave 100 per cent so you can’t fault them for effort.”
Reflecting on what has so far proved a frustrating campaign for Knights, List said: “We’ve been a bit decimated at times this season with long-term injuries to key players.
“But we want to build on the Bristol performance and try and get back to the team we were earlier in the season even though we know it is going to be a hard road.
“We are using the two back-to-back B&I Cup games against Cardiff to try and get back on track in the Championship before the end of the year with successive local derbies.
“Whereas in the past we’ve made changes for B&I Cup games we are treating both as Championship fixtures and I’m sure we’ll be fielding our strongest side.
“If we can win both games against Cardiff that would put us in the frame going into our last two pool games against Bristol and Leinster.
“The problem with playing teams like Cardiff is that you never know what to expect or who is going to be playing for them on the day.
“We’ve got footage of their two previous B&I Cup games this season but it’s not like when you are playing a Championship club and can analyse them to the death if you want.
“So you’ve got to concentrate more on your own performance and what we can bring to the table rather than worry about them.
“What we do know is that they will be tough games: they always are whenever you play a Welsh side.”