Doncaster Knights and Rotherham Titans to neet in early-season derby

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South Yorkshire’s Greene King IPA Championship rivals Doncaster Knights and Rotherham Titans will meet in a derby clash on the second Saturday of the new season, Saturday September 8, 9 or Sunday 10, at Castle Park.

Rotherham, rebuilding heavily after last season’s poor season, open at home to Nottingham the previous week.

Knights will go to Jersey on the opening weekend. Clive Griffiths’ men finished fourth last term - one place above the Channel Islanders - and will travel to St Peter on September 1/2/3.

The return South Yorkshire derby will be at Clifton Lane on December 22/23/24.

This season is the first one without the end of season play-offs. They have been replaced by a new prize money incentive, with the team finishing top of the table earning promotion to the Aviva Premiership, subject to meeting Minimum Standards Criteria.

Bristol are back in the Championship, while Hartpury College were promoted from National League One.

* First month’s fixtures, Sept 1, 2, 3: Rotherham v Nottingham, Jersey v Doncaster; Sept 8, 9, 10: Doncaster v Rotherham; Sept 15, 16, 17: Yorks Carnegie v Doncaster; Sept 22, 23, 24: Doncaster v Nottingham, Cornish Pirates v Rotherham; Sept 29, 30, Oct 1: London Scottish v Doncaster, Rotherham v Richmond.