Third time’s a charm for Knights?

Toby Berridge will make his first start for the Knights at London Welsh.
Toby Berridge will make his first start for the Knights at London Welsh.

TOBY Berridge and Michael Heaney have been handed starting debuts as the Knights make a third attempt at their trip to London Welsh this afternoon (2pm).

Director of rugby Brett Davey is still smarting over the failure to call off the initial visit to Old Deer Park until less than an hour before kick off, ensuring a wasted eight hour round trip for the Knights.

He is determined to gain some measure of revenge for what he deemed ‘disrespect’ but is also keen to provide some regular players with a rest following a hectic period.

Heaney will make his first start at nine in place of Chris Hallam and partner his former Ireland U20 colleague Gareth McDonogh at half back.

Glen Kenworthy, Latu Makaafi and David Bradford will all return to the starting XV while former Cambridge star Berridge gets his first start at full back.

Those missing out from Saturday’s agonising 15-14 defeat to South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham Titans are Hallam, PJ Gidlow, Matt Challinor, Andy Boyde and players’ player of the year Zach Farivarz.

Challinor, Hallam and Farivarz all drop to the bench.

The Knights have a short turnaround before the trip to Bristol on Friday night (7.45pm) for their final game of the regular season.

Davey believes squad rotation will help freshen up the squad before the play offs begin.

He said: “This week will keep them on their toes and each player will get their chance to impress and keep a spot in the first team when the play-offs kick in.

“It’s a mini World Cup from here in and these games could give us a momentum in the knockout stage, but more than anything it relieves us of any pressure and will help us play the brand of rugby we are aiming for.”

Knights team to face London Welsh: 15 Toby Berridge; 14 Dougie Flockhart; 13 Oli Goss; 12 Fred Burdon; 11 Michael Keating; 10 Gareth Quinn-McDonogh; 9 Michael Heaney; 1 Tom Davies; 2 Steve Boden; 3 Alex Brown; 4 Glen Kenworthy; 5 Dominic Parsons; 6 Latu Makaafi; 7 David Bradford; 8 Michael Noone.

Replacements: 16 Royce Burke-Flynn; 17 Jack Yeandle; 18 Stuart Corsar; 19 Matt Challinor; 20 Zack Farivarz; 21 Chris Hallam; 22 Ben Toft.

London Welsh: 15 Seb Jewell; 14 Will Hurrell; 13 Hudson Tonga’uiha; 12 Simon Whatling; 11 Joe Ajuwa; 10 Gordon Ross; 9 Jack Moates; 1 Shawn Pittman; 2 Vili Ma’asi; 3 Billy Moss; 4 Adam Brown; 5 Martin Purdy; 6 Lee Beach; 7 Michael Hills; 8 Ben Russell.

Replacements: 16 Saul Nelson; 17 Greg Bateman; 18 Mike Powell; 19 Matt Corker; 20 Rob Lewis; 21 Alex Davies; 22 James Lewis.