Jersey Reds v Doncaster Knights: St Peter clash is too close to call

Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths
Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths
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Of all the games on the opening weekend of the new Championship campaign the game at St Peter between Jersey Reds and Doncaster Knights is probably the most difficult to predict.

Only points difference and the fact that Knights won one more game separated the two sides, who finished fourth and five respectively, last season.

Jersey won the corresponding game last season (35-29) with Knights claiming a crucial 24-20 win in the return at Castle Park.

“They are always close games when we play Jersey, whether over there or at Castle Park and there is only a few points in it if you add up all the scores since they were promoted into the Championship,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

The Channel Islanders have lost a number of key forwards to Premiership sides since the two clubs last met but the Welshman doesn’t think that will be a big factor tomorrow.

“They look to have recruited well and they look a pretty decent outfit again, as they always are, so we are expecting it will be a tough game,” said Griffiths.

“The conditions look like being good, though being an island it will probably be windy, and I would expect them to give the ball some air as well as trying to grind us down and look to win penalties at the scrum and we’ve not got to fall into that trap.”

Knights, who will lack several players including first-choice kicker Dougie Flockhart, who will have an operation on Thursday on the ankle injury sustained against Loughborough, will be seeking to avoid a third successive opening day defeat.

“Obviously we are hoping to win but we still finished in the top four in the last two seasons and that’s also the target this time,” said Griffiths.