New skipper Hallam relishing challenge

Fitness race: Chris Hallam has not ruled himself out of Knights' first game against Cornish Pirates
Fitness race: Chris Hallam has not ruled himself out of Knights' first game against Cornish Pirates
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SCRUM-half Chris Hallam will lead the new-look Doncaster Knights in their 2011-2012 Championship campaign which kicks-off at at the start of next month.

“I’m excited about taking on the job and it’s a new challenge,” said the influential half-back who will be embarking on his fourth campaign at Castle Park.

“I was a bit worried at first about taking on the captaincy when director of Rugby Brett Davey first sounded me out because I’d never thought myself as that sort of person,

“But he just said that I wouldn’t have to change what I was doing and the rest of the boys were very supportive of his decision.

“Despite my initial doubts I am really enjoying the job and the lads have been great.

“The boys have been working really hard in training and you could see that in the first of our three pre-season games against Hull at Castle Park last Friday.

“We played really well, especially in the first half, and there were some great tries.

“Brett has brought a lot of new players in but they’ve all slotted in really well,”

Among the new faces to impress Hallam, who missed the game due to a shoulder injury sustained last season and a knee problem, were winger Michal Keating, full-back David McIlwaine and fly-half Mike Whitehead, who scored a try and kicked nine goals.

“Mike controlled the game well and I’m looking forward to playing alongside him,” he said. I played with him for a year at Rotherham before I moved to Doncaster and we’d started to build a partnership.

“It will be nice to link back up with him again. He’s a good player and he talks well,

“It was a good workout, a good performance and there was a lot of good stuff. Guys worked hard for each other both in defence and when we had the ball.

“The game ighlighted little areas where we need to improve and we’ll be working on those in training and also in Friday’s friendly at Coventry.”

Hallam will again miss Friday’s game but is targeting the last of the three friendlies in Wales the week after.

“I’ve not ruled myself out of the first game of the season against Cornish Pirates on September 3. I’m hoping to play in our last pre-season game and take it from there.

“But Lee Audis has come in and did well on Friday, so I’m going to have to battle for my place in the team,”