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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 34 - Coventry 22
Your News Doncaster Knights 34 - Coventry 22

An improved performance, particularly in the field of discipline, gave Doncaster Knights a bonus point victory over a game Coventry side who never gave up. In the end it was the power of the Knights that won the game although their backs at last began to show signs of putting together the type of game that their coaching staff are demanding.

Doncasters Director of Rugby Lynn Howells was forced to make changes for the game as injuries in the previous game against Nottingham ruled out Justin Bishop, Chris Planchant and Adam Kettle. In the backs, Wes Davies, Donavon Van Vuuren and Bevon Armitage replaced Chris Hughes, Steve McColl and Bishop respectively after impressing in the previous Mondays A 44 points to 3 victory away at Nottingham. In addition Jamie Lennard started in place of Ali Warnock at fly half. In the pack, Michael Cusack replaced Ngalu Tau, Dan Smith (another to impress in the A XV game) came in at lock to allow Bryn Griffiths to move to flanker and Neil Cochrane replaced Simon Grainger at openside. The other change saw the selection of Queensland Red and Tongan international Josh Afu at No 8 who only arrived in England last Sunday morning and yet still managed to look good in the half he played in the A XV game.

Although Doncaster had the advantage of the wind to start with it was Coventry who got on the scoreboard first through a penalty by Ronald McLean-Dents. However the Knights hit back almost immediately with a penalty by Lennard before taking the lead after 11 minutes. Although awarded a penalty close to the posts, the Knights opted for a scrum from which Coventry were again penalised. Afu took a quick tap penalty and although this attack was thwarted inches short, the ball was moved back infield where big flanker Griffiths was driven over with the fellow of his fellow forwards. Lennards conversion extended the Knights lead and they put the pressure on Coventry who managed to hold out. With 20 minutes gone the Knights lost an attacking lineout well inside the Coventry 22 and it was the visitors turn to shake Doncaster with two tries in the space of 4 minutes. The first came from a Coventry attacking lineout on the Knights 22 when, after a ruck midfield, a mistake in the Doncaster defensive wall open up a gap for the visitors and resulted in a try wide out for full back Dorian Myles. From the restart Coventry took the game back to the Knights and they were awarded a scrum five metres out. No 8 McGlone picked up and went for the line but he was driven back and lost possession. Unfortunately the ball ricocheted off a Knights player before bouncing over their goal line where Coventry flanker James Miller gratefully accepted the gift. McLean-Dents conversion was successful and the Knights suddenly found themselves 15 points to 10 behind. Now it was the Knights turn to hit back and within 2 minutes they were awarded a penalty try when Coventry were penalised for deliberately collapsing the scrum as the Doncaster pack were driving them over the line. Lennard again converted and the Knights were back in the lead. The Knights pack now took over and they piled into Coventry with relish. With the game deep into fist half injury time, the Knights pack won yet another ruck and this time the ball was quickly moved to the left where centre Bevon Armitage cut a lovely line between two Coventry players to score between the posts for a try that gave Lennard a simple conversion.

Starting the second half 24 points to 15 ahead but playing into the breeze the Knights needed an early score and were over the Coventry line within 2 minutes only for winger Van Vuuren to be recalled after the referee gave a forward pass. The Knights now camped inside the Coventry 22 only for stout defence by the visitors keeping them out. Their pack was now totally dominant and battered away at the Coventry line from scrums and lineouts. From one of these Coventry flanker Darren Clayton was yellow carded for deliberately killing the ball and although Coventry managed to break the stranglehold, a strong tackle in midfield by Armitage allowed them to regain possession. After a blindside attack was stopped, the ball was moved to the left where Griffiths fed the ball to Lennard who drew the defence before feeding the ball on a scissors movement to Van Vuuren who beat the cover to dive over wide out. Lennard converted with a good kick into the breeze. After keeping their discipline for so long it was the Knights turn to fall foul of the referee after 70 minutes when scrum half Chris Hallam was sin binned for a technical offence. With the Knights slow to react by not replacing Hallam immediately with another scrum half, Coventry gained a lineout 22 metres out from the Doncaster line and after they won possession a gap opened up on the blindside which Hallam normally covered and Nathan Jones was given an unopposed run to the line for his sides third try which McLean-Dent converted. Although now a man short the Knights attacked and Coventry were punished to give Lennard another penalty which he kicked to take the Knights well clear as the final whistle went.

The Knights can look back on an improved performance where a much improved discipline, helped in no small part by far better refereeing than the previous weekend, allowed them to put together phases of play for almost the first time this season. With the scrummaging and lineouts going well, the Knights backs will be looking to for a repeat performance from their pack to allow them to take advantage of the possession they are now gaining when they entertain Cornish Pirates this coming Saturday.

Doncaster Knights Carter; Davies; Armitage; Tongauiha; Van Vuuren (Albinson 74); Hallam; List (Davies 63); Boden; Cusack (Toke 56); Smith; Kenworthy; Griffiths, Afu; Cochrane Subs not used: Hughes G; Warnock; Tau; Grainger

Coventry Myles; McLean-Dent; Dixon; Sanders; Winter; Hayes (Russell 48); Jones; Whitehall (Ensor 32); Whitehead (Pearl 48); Dugard (Sanderson 75); Walton; Burgess; Miller (Thomas 68); Clayton (Pons); McGlone Subs not used: Montague

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