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Michael Heaney outlines Leinster threat as Doncaster Knights chase B&I Cup quarter-final spot

Michael Heaney
Michael Heaney

Doncaster Knights have a real battle on their hands to keep their B&I Cup hopes alive in their final Pool 2 game against Leinster A this weekend.

The unbeaten Irish side romped to a resounding 41-17 win over Knights at Castle Park in the opening round of fixtures in the competition in October.

Since then they have built up an unassailable lead at the top of the pool.

Knights had hoped to have picked up enough points to qualify as one of the three best runners-up prior to the game.

But last weekend’s 37-32 defeat against Bristol at Castle Park put paid to those hopes.

“We were very disappointed to lose the game,” said scrum-half Michael Heaney.

“We tried to play rugby, as we always do, but as sometimes happens when you don’t get things right you get punished and with the quality Bristol had that it was happened.

“On another day against another team we might have made the same mistakes and got away with them and picked up a win as we came close to doing despite the individual errors.

“We were guessing as to what team they would bring up here but we were ready for a tough game whatever side they played.

“But they’ve got such a large squad and a range of players to pick from that they are always going to be hard to beat.”

Belfast-born Heaney knows more than most the size of Knights’ task this weekend.

“Leinster are one of the top clubs in Europe and have been for quite a while,” he said. “Their first team have always been good as have any of their squad players who play in the B&I Cup.

“Like Bristol they have a lot of good players to choose from so they are always going to be strong.

“I would always put them right up there in both the top European competitions and the B&I Cup.

“I’ve played at Donnybrook before and it’s never an easy place to go.

“It’s a 4G pitch and not every player at Castle Park is a fan of artificial pitches – particularly the bigger ones.

“They’ll play the game at a fast tempo and whenever we’ve got the ball we’ll look to do the same.

“It now it looks as though we are probably going to need to win although even then it could depend on other results going our way.”