South Yorks derby that isn’t top priority

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Tonight’s derby in the British and Irish Cup at Castle Park (7.30pm) is not considered to be a priority by either Rotherham Titans or Doncaster Knights.

Neither has a chance of going through to the next round, but fringe players have the chance to stake a claim for a squad place for the Championship promotion play-offs next month. Doncaster on four points in the table from their two ties, take on Rotherham, who have played three games, without winning one, leaving them with two points.

Doncaster’s Director of Rugby, Lynn Howells, who is leaving at the end of the season, will want to make sure his players are fully fit for the promotion play-offs, so his squad this evening, as with Rotherham’s, will take that into account.

After this evening’s cup tie, the bigger picture as far as Rotherham are concerned is Saturday’s league clash with Bristol; Doncaster, sixth in the Championship, meanwhile, are preparing for the visit of Cornish Pirates.

Now that seventh-place Rotherham are sure of finishing in the top eight, coach Andre Bester is determined their good home form should continue, so that his first team squad are confident of competing successfully in their group in the play-offs.

Officials will announce the details of the two groups of four shortly after the first stage of the league season is completed this weekend.