Doncaster Knights: World Cup ace Wian Conradie set for Knights debut against Ealing
Injury-hit Doncaster Knights will have Namibian back-rower Wian Conradie on debut in Saturday’s testing Championship clash against Ealing at Castle Park (2.30pm).
Conradie, who played against eventual winners South Africa and Italy in the recent World Cup in Japan, arrived in country on Thursday morning and trained with his new teammates for the first time in the afternoon.
“He’s a committed player who carries the ball strongly into contact,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths.
Conradie’s arrival could not have been more timely for a Doncaster side who could again have nearly a dozen players on the sidelines.
“I’ve never known anything like it in all my time in the game,” said the Welshman, who will again have to rely on dual-registered players from Newcastle and Sale Jets to make up the squad.
“We brought in young second-rower Matt Postlethwaite at Coventry last week and he was on of the best players on the field but has been recalled by Sale because they have injury problems as well.
“I’m spending most of my time on the telephone trying to bring players in but I’m not a majician and I can’t just conjure up players.”
Griffiths, who has drafted in Sale scrum-half Gus Warr as half-back cover, is hoping that full-back Cam Cowell, who missed the Coventry game, and veteran prop Colin Quigley, who picked up a knock in the game, will prove their fitness today but others including skipper Michael Hills and Ollie Stedman have already been ruled out.
“We’ll need to field the strongest side we can because we know how good Ealing are,” he said.
“I went to watch them play Yorkshire Carnegie, who we play in our next league game at the end of next month, at Headingley on Sunday and they are a big physical side with a lot of good players.
“We know that we will have to show the same commitment as we did at Coventry on Saturday, when I felt we were unlucky to come away empty-handed - and more because they are a better team - and also have the run of the ball which we didn’t in that game.
“They will start favourites but hopefully we can draw some inspiration from the time we put 50 points against them after losing heavily down there, at the end of the 2017-18 season. Hopefully the crowd will really get behind the team and give them a lift.”