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Home > News > Doncaster through to British and Irish Cup Semis
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Your News Doncaster through to British and Irish Cup Semis

In inflicting only Pontypridd’s second home defeat in more than three seasons, Doncaster Knights returned from South Wales having taken maximum points and propelled themselves into the semi-finals of the British & Irish Cup with still one game to play.

For their rearranged British & Irish Cup game away at Pontypridd, Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells again rotated his squad after last Saturday’s victory over Birmingham making 12 changes in all. The only players to retain their places were centre Bevan Armitage, lock Glen Townson and No 8 Chris Bundy, playing against his local side. Making a comeback after missing over three months due to a back injury was lock Dan Smith whilst winger Ollie Goss was returned to the ground where he received a serious knee injury in a pre-season friendly and which kept him out of action until a couple of weeks ago.

Doncaster started the game at full throttle and came close to scoring several times in the opening exchanges. Unfortunately after only 7 minutes, the Knights No 8 Chris Bundy, playing against his local club, had to leave the field with a knee injury and he had to be replaced by Adam Kettle. The Knights scored their opening try after 13 minutes when centre Hudson Tonga’uiha burst through the middle of the field after a quick line out near halfway before linking up with flanker Andy Boyde who galloped the last 10 metres to score near the post to give fly half James Brookes a simple conversion. Pontypridd were not in the game at this stage and their cause was not helped by continually falling foul of the referee. Eventually the referee lost his patience resulting in the sinbinning of a home player and, almost immediately, the Knights took advantage of his absence to drive Pontypridd back from a 5 metre scrum before Kettle crashed over for his side’s second try which Brooks converted. For the remainder of the half the Knights were well on top but failed to take build on the 75% territorial advantage they enjoyed. As halftime approached, Pontypridd broke into the Knights 22 for almost the first time and they scored a try when skipper and No 8 Nathan Strong latched on to a well directed chip by fly half Matthew Hutchings.

Turning around 14 points to 5 behind, Pontypridd started very brightly and after only 3 minutes they kicked a penalty through Kristian Baller. Now it was the Knights turn to upset the referee which allowed the home side to put Doncaster under pressure for 15 minutes during which Baller kicked his second penalty. However the Knights weathered the storm and they scored their third try after 60 minutes. The Knights won the ball at a scrum 40 metres out and near touch and, after Tonga’uiha was well tackled, his fellow backs moved the ball quickly to the right where winger Dougie Flockhart to outpace the cover to score. With 15 minutes left, and needing only to win to guarantee their semi-final place, the Knights closed the game down but still managed to score their fourth, and bonus point try, when hooker Steve Lawrie was driven over from a lineout 7 metres out for the final score of the game.

After the match Howells said that the Knights record of 7 wins in their last 8 games within a period of 24 days was a tremendous credit to his squad. As a former player and coach of Pontypridd, Howells said that he could not remember the last side to travel to Sardis Road and leave with a victory and a bonus point. He said his squad were now looking forward to their final game of their 9 match marathon this Saturday at Rotherham in their final B&I cup match.

Pontypridd: Nuttall (Morris 60), Clayton (Williams L 67), Thomas, Williams G (Thorne 73), Williams O, Hutchings, Baller, Williams S (Williams L 67), Hetherington, Harford, Harrington (Locke 55), Savage, Dicomidis, Strong, Studley (O’Connor 49) Replacement not used: Dowden

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Goss (Carter 48), Armitage, Tonga’uiha, Flockhart, Brooks, Griffiths (N), Corsar (Toke 73), Lawrie, Ta’u (Thiede 45), Griffiths (B), Townson, Boyde, Bundy (Kettle 7), Grainger Replacements not used: Hallam, Doughty, Smith.

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