Doncaster Knights: Hartpury ‘tougher opponents than Pirates’

Clive Griffiths
Clive Griffiths

Doncaster Knights go into battle against Hartpury at Castle Park tomorrow (2.30pm) in their first home game of the 2018-19 Championship campaign.

Having suffered a 31-24 defeat away to Cornish Pirates on the opening weekend of the season, Knights are desperate to get off the mark.

Hartpury, who beat Knights at home in their debut season in the Championship, will arrive at Castle Park buoyed by an impressive 16-3 win over Yorkshire Carnegie.

Although it was one of the surprise results, Knights boss Clive Griffiths said the Gloucestershire side, who include Charlie Foley’s brother Ben in their ranks, were good value for their win.

The club’s director of rugby took in the Friday night game prior to meeting the team coach en route to Cornwall the following day and came away impressed.

“They looked better than Pirates so we’ll have a lot to do on the day again,” he said.

“They are very quick and they are the most enthusiastic vocal team I’ve heard for a long time and they fed on that energy, which grew and grew.

“They are very solid in every department. Their front-row was solid and their back-rowers, who both like to run wide, were outstanding.

“They’ve got an experienced half-back pairing and both centres run hard and both wingers come flying in from the flank.

“They’ve also got both a high and a long kicking game.

“Carnegie had no gains in the scrums or the catch-and-drive and were well beaten on the day and it could have been a lot worse.

“We beat them at home but they look 100 per cent a better side this season as you’d expect having had a year at this level, so it’s going to be tough.”

Knights were without five injured players last week and picked up a couple of knocks at Mennaye Field.

Griffiths, who hinted he could make the odd unenforced change, will reflect on yesterday’s training session before finalising his squad today.