Knights chief to learn lesson from Saints

DONCASTER Knights director of rugby Lynn Howells is set to find out in today's game against Northampton Saints whether his side are genuine National League One title challengers.

Unbeaten Knights will run out in front of a predicted five-figure crowd at Franklin's Gardens lying second in the table just one point adrift of relegated Saints.

But the Welshman, who took over on the eve of the season, knows his charges have not been tested in five of their first six games.

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"I have no idea whether we are good enough to win the title this season to be perfectly honest," he said. "We are only six games into the campaign and it is a long, hard season.

"Both myself and the players will have a better idea of where we are and what we are capable of after today's game.

"It is a huge opportunity for the lads to play against a quality team and find out how near the Premiership we really are.

"I don't think the occasion will faze them. To play against the top sides in front of big crowds is what rugby players train for."

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He added: “Obviously you look at the opposition but I think it is about us not making mistakes and playing to the best of our abilities in this particular game.

"If we can do that then I think it could be very close and, yes, we could win. I have never put a team on the field that I felt couldn't win.

"Admittedly they will probably need to have an off day for us to beat them, but that happens in sport as we saw last weekend in the World Cup.

"You only need to have one team below par and the other side to be on top of their game for upsets to happen.

"They haven't changed a lot from last season.

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Okay there are one or two players to come back from the World Cup, but they are still a very strong side.

"I think bringing in Jim Mallinder as coach was a good decision and he has pulled them together as a unit.”