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Home > News > Coventry 26 - Doncaster Knights 20
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Your News Coventry 26 - Doncaster Knights 20

Doncaster Knights managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by gifting Coventry four tries in a performance that was as bad as it had been good in their previous week’s victory over Nottingham. Even then they had enough chances to win including the referee awarding them a try and then changing his mind just as the Knights were about to take the conversion.

For what was expected to be a hard game against a Coventry side that has always put in good performances against the Knights, their Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made just two changes from the side that had been outstanding against Nottingham. Howells elected to give Steve McColl and Adam Kettle at centre and flanker respectively in place of his two Tongan internationals Hudson Tonga’uiha and Josh Afu respectively.

Although Coventry made a bright start, the Knights soon got into their stride before making the first of their many mistakes after 6 minutes. Doncaster won ruck ball deep inside the Coventry 22 but they were slow to pick up the ball and it was gathered by Coventry flanker James Miller who raced to the halfway line before passing to his winger Tom Slater who ran the final 40 metres to score a try that fly half Myles Dorian converted. Doncaster put the pressure on Coventry but it took them until 20 minutes to open their account when the referee awarded them a penalty try after the home side had consistently offended at a succession for Knights 5 metre scrums. Jamie Lennard’s conversion brought the scores level but, with a couple of minutes, the Knights made their second mistake. Doncaster appeared to have recovered the ball from a Coventry scrum on their 10 metre line but again Miller picked up the loose ball and raced 40 metres to score wide out. Again Doncaster put the pressure on Coventry and were awarded a try after 37 minutes through McColl. However having given the try after 2 minutes of continuous pressure he then reversed his attention when a touch judge brought his attention back to a fight that had taken place involving two players on the halfway line. Worst was to follow for the Knights as flanker Kettle was yellow carded at the following lineout for a technical offence.

Although they managed to hold out until half-time, the Knights went further behind at the start of the second half. Dorian chipped the ball ahead for Coventry from a ruck just inside the Knights half and from position at least 5 metres offside, Miller was allowed to gather the ball before running through to score his side’s third try which was converted to take the home side into a 12 point lead. Within the next 10 minutes Doncaster clawed their way into the lead for the first time in the game. Firstly the reliable Lennard kicked a penalty and then leading try scorer Wez Davies added to his tally with the try of the match in a move that went through 7 pairs of hands after starting deep in the Coventry half, Lennard’s conversion and a second penalty gave his side a 1 point lead and the Knights supporters started to breathe a bit easier. Unfortunately Coventry had other ideas as Doncaster made a mess of moving the ball that they ahd won and a poor pass gave centre Donavan Sanders the chance to fly hack through and pick up a lucky bounce to score a try that Dorian converted. As the game approached to end the Knights piled intense forward pressure on the Coventry line but the home defence held out for victory.

After the game a furious Howells said that you cannot just turn up to a game and win. Against sides like Coventry you have to retain possession and the Knights, on the day, they gave it away far too easily. He said that it would be easy to blame the referee but it was the Knights own performance that let them down.

Coventry: Toft (Hayes 67); Slater (McClean 58); Dixon; Saunders; Winter, Dorian, Jones; Dugard; Whitehead (Pearl 67); Brits (Whitehall 73); Herrington; Burgess (Lyons 50); Venter (Clayton 57); McGlone; Miller (Pons 69).

Doncaster Knights: Carter; Davies W; Armitage; McColl (Tonga’uiha 59); Van Vuuren; Lennard; Hallam; List (Davies T 50); Boden; Ta’u (Cusack 40); Griffiths; Kenworthy; Kettle; Planchant (Afu 64); Cochrane Subs not used: Smith; Warnock; Robinson

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