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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 17 - Exeter Chiefs 25
Your News Doncaster Knights 17 - Exeter Chiefs 25

Doncaster, after leading 17 points to 10 after 60 minutes and with the benefit of a strong wind, squandered their advantage with an act of indiscipline that resulted in one of their players being sin binned for 10 minutes which allowed Exeter, who had been slowly but surely been put under increasing pressure, to regroup and come away with a victory that they probably did not really deserve. However, the Chiefs backs, more decisive than Doncaster throughout, had the last say with two tries, the last of which, which gave them a bonus point, secured their second place position in the league.

Exeter, with the advantage of the wind, scored after only 4 minutes when they exploited a big gap on the blindside of a scrum on the halfway line which allowed them to put their big Fijian winger Josh Drauniniu on a run towards the Doncaster. When he was half stopped by Knights full back Anthony Carter, he fed the ball inside to his supporting scrum half Clive Stuart-Smith who scored wide out. Although the Knights started to get back into the game, it was the Chiefs who extended their lead after 13 minutes. After the Knights had kicked away possession, they were penalised in midfield and Exeter kicked towards the corner from a lineout. After they won the throw in, the ball was moved to the left where a mistake in the Doncaster midfield defence allowed Chiefs full back Gary Kingdom to put his left wing Sean Marsden over in the corner. Again the Knights fought their way back into the game and, after a period of fairly constant pressure mainly through forward drives, they scored after 25 minutes following a forward drive through flanker Simon Grainger. After 33 minutes Knights No 8 Chris Planchant left the field with a knee injury that will require an operation and he was replaced by Scott Gray who has just recovered from his.

With the advantage of the wind, the Knights were soon on the attack in the 2nd half and they started to put the Chiefs pack under the cosh. After 5 minutes they had an attacking lineout and flanker Bryn Griffiths dived over for a try. Three minutes later, a long diagonal kick by fly half Mark Woodrow resulted in the Knights gaining a lineout 5 metres out from the Chiefs line. From the line out, centre Spencer Davey was stopped just short and the ball was quickly moved to the left where Wes Davies cut a good line to take the scoring pass from Carter for a try that Woodrow converted. After 55 minutes Knights hooker Steve Boden was yellow carded after 55 minutes for alleged foul play immediately in front of the referee. The depleted Knights then withstood 5 minutes of intense pressure before managing to break the stranglehold from a penalty which took them to a lineout just inside the Chiefs half. With the ball in their possession, all the Knights needed to do was play clever rugby until back to full strength but they tried to force play too much and turned over the ball just inside the Chiefs 10 metre line. Exeter moved the ball quickly to the right to Drauniniu who raced 70 metres for a try between the posts that was converted by full back Gary Kingdom. With the Chiefs now back in the game, the Knights started to fall even more foul of the referee and Kingdom was given an easy penalty to put his team in front with 10 minutes left. For the last 10 minutes every decision seemed to go against the Knights and the Chiefs secured their fourth try through scrum half Kevan Barratt in the last second of the game from what everyone in the ground, apart from the referee, saw came from a knock on.

Looking back on the season, the Knights will regret the number of yellow cards they received, which was the most by any team in the league. Playing with a man short for at least 10 minutes in 80% of their games made things very difficult and could well have cost them at least one position in the league. For next season, Doncaster Director of Rugby Lynn Howells must find a way to eliminate this failing as well as ensuring that his backs capitalise on the possession that his pack regularly gain

Doncaster Knights: A. Carter; P Bailey; J Bishop; S Davey; W Davies; M Woodrow; B Jones; R List (T Toke 48); S Boden (B Phillips 60); T Davies (J Rawson 43); L Gross; G Kenworthy; B Griffiths; S Grainger (T Luke 65); C Planchant (S Gray 33) Subs not used: D Storey; C Rees

Exeter Chiefs: G Kingdom; J Drauniniu; A Fatialofa; S Ward; S Marsden; T Yapp (A Staniforth 59); C Stuart-Smith (K Barrett 48); D Parkes (C Dunlea 48); S Jenkins; B Sturgess; C Bentley (T Johnson 48); L Stevenson (T Skelding 69); C Slade; Andy Miller (Alan Miller 73); R Baxter Sub not used M Grove

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