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Home > News > Llandovery 6 - Doncaster 27
Your News Llandovery 6 - Doncaster 27

Doncaster Knights overcame gale force winds and driving rain to grind out a hard fought victory over Welsh Premiership side Llandovery in the second British and Irish Cup game in West Wales. The conditions totally mitigated against running rugby but the Knights pack dominated their encounter to control the game throughout.

Following the disappointment of last weeks defeat at Birmingham, Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made six changes as he attempted to look after his injury hit squad. In the backs, Dougie Flockhart was selected in place of the rested Matt Williams, Paul Devlin returned at centre in place of Chris Briers for his first game since he injured his knee last September and Nathan Jones came in at scrum half for Chris Hallam whose shoulder injury could well keep him out for the rest of the season. In the pack, Steve Lawrie was selected at hooker in place of Steve Boden, young prop Lewis Thiede replaced Michael Cussack, Matt Challinor got a chance at blindside flanker for Latu Makkafi and Leeds dual registered player Jacob Rowan came in for the injured Neil Cochrane in the back row.

The Knights had the advantage of the end to end gale in the first half and quickly pinned the Drovers deep in their own 22. The ball very rarely left the pack as they drove incessantly towards the Llandovery try line. They eventually went ahead after 7 minutes when centre PJ Gidlow found himself part of a Knights 10 metre driving maul and he crashed over for a try that fly half Tristan Roberts converted. With the conditions worsening, both sides struggled and, when either tried to move the ball beyond their scrum half, they came unstuck. After 20 minutes Roberts increased the Knights lead with a 22 metre penalty from in front of the posts. The Knights continued to pile on the pressure as the Drovers could not get out of the stranglehold they were under and they increased their lead when flanker Zack Farivarz crossed for a try wide out from a 5 metre driving line out. Roberts converted with an excellent kick across the wind from close to touch. As the game went into first half injury time, Llandovery managed to get into the Knights 22 for the first time and their fly half, and former Doncaster player, Cerith Rees put his side on the board with a 20 metre penalty from in front of the posts.

The Knights started the second half 20 points to 3 in the lead and although Rees reduced the deficit with a 50 metre penalty from then on it was all Knights. Their pack took total control in the tight and the loose as they started to pin Llandovery in their own half and starve them of possession. Although Rees missed with one long range penalty, the Knights were clearly well on top and they made light of the elements they were facing. They had a 10 minute period camped on the Drovers line and they went close with a number of 5 metre scrums and driving mauls. As the pressure started to tell on the Llandovery backs they made a number of mistakes as they attempted to clear their lines. As the game went into injury time, Llandovery managed to get a foothold on the Knights 22 but the Doncaster defence held firm and they eventually turned over the ball. The Knights moved the ball quickly to the left and Roberts was put clear 60 metres out. Although he was caught about 10 metres short, the Knights retained the pressure and, after they were awarded a 5 metre scrum, Gidlow became involved again with a driving maul and he crashed over for his second try that Roberts converted from in front of the posts to finish the game off.

After the match Howells said he felt that the Knights had got back on track after a run of four consecutive defeats. He felt that the team played with a lot more spirit than last week, were by far the better side in the weather and showed that they could play rugby in any conditions.

Llandovery: Sauro, Thomas, Jacobs, Warren (Grundy 73), Ajuwa, Rees (Rogers 80), James, Evans, Parry (Wyn-Davies 58), Howells (A Jones 58), De Marigny (S. Jones 72) , Vaughan (Harbut 54), Aiono, Welch, Reynolds (Phillips 14-25, 64)

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Wright, Devlin (Briers 61), Gidlow, Flockhart, Roberts, Jones (Hampson 81), Corsar (Thiede 76), Lawrie, Thiede (Cussack 50), Kenworthy, Craig, Challinor, Rowan (Makaafi 58), Farivarz (Walker 80) Replacements not used: Doughty, Parsons

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