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Home > News > Doncaster 16 - Worcester Warriors 37
Your News Doncaster 16 - Worcester Warriors 37

Beaten but not bowed, that was the general view of the Knights performance after last nights defeat by Championship leaders Worcester Warriors who, mindful that they only just managed to beat Doncaster earlier in the season with a late injury time penalty, paid them the compliment of putting out just about their strongest side for the Castle Park clash.

With a number of injuries, Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells had little choice with his selection particularly in the back row where he had only three fit players. Fortunately, full back Steve McColl was passed fit again after his groin injury that had kept him out for the past couple of weeks which enabled the Knights to start with the same backs who had played most of the season. In the pack, prop Stuart Corsar and hooker Steve Lawrie got the nod over Dan Frazier and Steve Boden respectively, James Craig returned after injury at lock and Latu Makaafi, Ed Jackson and Zach Farivarz were the back row.

The game got off to a lively start when, from the kick off, Worcester England fly half Andy Goode was put under intense pressure and the Knights were penalised for a late tackle. This did not stop Goode putting his side after 2 minutes with a penalty and, with the referee continually penalising the Knights, further scores seemed likely. However, after being under pressure for most of the first quarter as the Warriors pack tried to turn the screw, it was the Knights who scored next with a penalty by fly half Tristan Roberts after 22 minutes. Worcester hit back when, following a series of attacks on the Knights line giant lock Craig Gillies drove over from close in for the games opening try. Shortly afterwards Warriors hooker Chris Fortey was yellow carded for alleged foul play and Roberts penalty reduced the Knights deficit to 2 points. Worcester regained possession from the restart and, after several waves of attacks had been stopped short by the Knights defence, Irish international flanker Neil Best picked up and crashed over from close in for a try that Goode converted. The Knights took the game back to Worcester and, from the last play of the half, Roberts dropped a goal to make the score 15 points to 9 to the visitors.

Doncaster started the half quite brightly but, as they were starting to take the game to the Warriors, they lost their influential young No 8 Ed Jackson with an injury that was subsequently diagnosed as a broken bone in his leg. Even worst was to follow for the Knights when, after 14 minutes, scrum half Chris Hallam was yellow carded for a technical offence and Goodes penalty increased his sides lead to 9 points. Worcester made a far better job of using their numerical strength than the Knights had earlier and their replacement hooker Tongan international Alelu Lutui crashed over for a try and then their Scottish international prop Bruce Douglas got in on the act when he latched on to a charge down attempted clearance kick to dive over for his sides bonus point try. With Goode converting the first of these, Worcester were now well in front and had made the Knights pay dearly. In terms of running rugby, the last quarter was probably the best of the game as the Knights took the game back at the Warriors and the crowd were on their feet. Unfortunately it was the Warriors who extended their lead with a try by their England Saxons winger Miles Benjamin which Goode converted. Doncaster still did not give in and the crowd had something to shout about at last when they attacked left and right for a number of phases before centre Oli Goss made a half break before giving the scoring pass to local favourite Matt Williams who scored his 12th try of the season which Roberts converted. From the restart the Knights attacked again from deep and backs and forwards alike combined as they went in search of their second try. Replacement centre Andy Wright made a great run down the right flank, just managing to keep in play, and as he seemed certain to score he was tackled just short and a try went begging as his inside pass to his supporting player did not quite go to hand a couple of metres short of the Worcester line.

After the game, Howells said that Worcester obviously came with a specific game plan of taking the Knights on up front and to try to grind them down. He thought that his pack stood up well to the task, just edging the scrum confrontation and putting in probably their best line out performance of the season. What they had been unable to handle was the sheer physicality of a Warriors side with eight internationals who scored three tries through close in forward drives and really closed the door on the Knights with 14 points when Doncaster were down to 14 men. Nevertheless Howells said that his side, which he felt suffered from a lack of game time in the last two weeks, would take a lot of positives from their performance going into the New Year.

Doncaster Knights: McColl (Lewis-Pratt 70), Flockhart, Goss, Gidlow (Wright 63), Williams, Roberts, Hallam (Jones 65), Corsar (Frazier 54), Lawrie (Boden 51), Cusack (Thiede 51), Challinor, Craig, Makaafi, Jackson (Parsons 43), Farivarz

Worcester Warriors: Walker (Carlisle 61), Garvey, Rasmussen (Crockett 37), Higgitt, Benjamin, Goode, Williams (Frost 61), Black, Fortey (Lutui 50), Douglas (Tomaszczyc 67), Gillies, Rawlinson (Kitchener 66), Best (Balding 67), Horstmann, Sanderson

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