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Home > News > Leeds Carnegie 28 - Doncaster Knights 13
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Your News Leeds Carnegie 28 - Doncaster Knights 13

For the first 40 mins Doncaster Knights played their best rugby of the season and deservedly led unbeaten league leaders Leeds Carnegie by 13 points to 11 at the interval, and that in spite of missing three penalty opportunities. Unfortunately in the second half, as Leeds fought back, indiscipline cost Knights dear as they lost two players to the sin bin for two almost consecutive 10 minute intervals during which time they conceded 10 points in spite of a heroic defensive effort by the remaining 14 players.

For the game, Doncaster Knights changed both their props with Richard List returning in place of Tongan international Toma Toke, who suffered a serious knee injury last weekend, and Tonga’s most capped prop Ngalu Ta’u starting in place of former Leeds player, and ex-Doncaster youth star, Michael Cusack. In the backs former Leeds player Chris Hughes replaced Donavan Van Vuuren on the wing whilst Chris Hallam got the nod at scrum half over Jamie Albinson.

Leeds attacked the Knights from the outset but were penalised almost immediately under the visitor’s posts. Unfortunately an offence by a Knights player after the whistle was spotted by international referee Dave Pearson and he reversed his decision to give Jason Strange, the Leeds flyhalf, a simple opportunity to put his side into the lead. The Knights fought back and within the space of 10 minutes the normally very reliable Jamie Lennard missed with three penalties and one drop goal attempt. However the Knights were not put off by these setbacks and continued to put Leeds to the sword. Under pressure just outside his own 22, Leeds full back Leigh Hinton threw a wild pass back into midfield which was gratefully intercepted by Knights centre Bevon Armitage who race through for a try which Lennard converted to take his side into the lead. Now it was all Doncaster and, as Leeds continued to infringe losing No 8 Rhys Oakley to the sin bin, they extended their lead with a penalty and drop goal by Lennard. It took Leeds almost 30 minutes to secure decent possession, such was the extent of the Knights control, but when they did they looked very dangerous. As half time approached, Leeds struck when Hinton crashed over in the corner after his side’s sustained pressure on the Knights line created an overlap opportunity which he took. Then, in the 6th minute of injury time, Strange reduced his side’s deficit to 13 points to 11 with his second penalty of the match.

Leeds piled on the pressure immediately after the interval and the Knights lost winger Wes Davies to the sin bin after he was penalised for a high tackle. Just as Davies was about to re-appear after some superb defensive work had kept Leeds at bay, the home side won a line out near the Knights line and a well worked move resulted in hooker Rob Rawlinson giving over in the corner for a try that Strange converted with a superb kick from the touchline. No sooner was Davies back on than Knights prop Richard List was penalised near his own posts for killing the ball and he got his marching orders to the sin bin. From this penalty Strange extended his side’s lead to 8 points which Knights could have reduced shortly afterwards but again Lennard’s kick was just wide. The game was still being played at a furious pace with the Leeds backs looking dangerous whenever they were in possession. Both sides tried to move the ball as both chased a bonus point and the crowd were on their feet. With 10 minutes left the only controversy of the match occurred when Hinton scored in the corner from a move that had started from a scrum on the halfway line when it appeared blatant that a Leeds flanker had deliberately impeded Doncaster flanker Josh Afu as he sort to tackle Leeds scrum half Scott Mathie as he broke from the scrum. Although Strange’s conversion was the final score of a game, such was the end to end excitement of the final few minutes that both sides had close in scoring opportunities that were thwarted by excellent tackling.

The first thing that has to be said about the game was that it was an excellent advertisement for First Division Rugby and fully supported the argument for reducing the league to professional sides only. Certainly if Knights had regular competition of this intensity they would develop rapidly as a side. Such a performance, particularly in the first half, gives lie to the argument that the Knights are still a new side and they must now move on to the next stage of their development which is to put in consistent performances of this calibre week after week. Roll on Plymouth next Saturday down in Devon and the return match against Leeds at Castle Park on March 7th.

Leeds Carnegie: Hinton; Welding; Hepworth; Barrow (Paul 65): Biggs; Strange (Vickerman 75); Bedford (Mathie 57); MacDonald; Rawlinson; McGee (Bucknall 68); Murphy; Pendlebury; Myall (Dunbar 65); Oakley, Fourie (Clark 68) Sub not used: Nilson

Doncaster Knights: Carter; Davies W; Armitage; Tonga’uiha; Hughes C; Lennard (Warnock 66); Hallam (Albinson 44); List (Davies T 66); Jenkins; Ta’u (Cusack 40); Griffiths; Kenworthy (Smith 79); Afu (Cochrane 73); Planchant; Grainger Sub not used: Hughes G

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