Doncaster Knights 22 Connacht 5: Knights survive tough cup test

Knights' WIll Hurrell is stopped in his tracks. Photo: Sarah Washbourn
Knights' WIll Hurrell is stopped in his tracks. Photo: Sarah Washbourn

Doncaster Knights stretched their unbeaten run to five games when beating B & I Cup Pool 5 rivals Connacht Eagles 22-5 at Castle Park.

Although Knights were worthy winners they weren’t at their best and the Irish club, who fielded five players in European Challenge Cup action in Russia a week earlier, never made life easy.

Which pleased skipper Michael Hills ahead of this weekend’s return to Championship action against Moseley.

“We need to be tested every week,” he said.

“They attacked every breakdown and hey also attacked well. But we repelled them for most of the game and it’s just disappointing we let them in for that late try when we were down to 14 men. And it was a five-point win and that’s all you can ask for.”

With director of rugby Clive Griffiths wanting to go into the Moseley game on a high, the Welshman fielded a strong side and early indications were that Knights would win with something to spare.

Full-back Paul Jarvis opened the scoring with a thrilling try from deep inside his own half on seven minutes.

But their early sparkle disappeared and despite the odd attacking sortie orchestrated by half-backs Declan Cusack and Michael Heaney – playing together for only the third time due to injuries - Eagles edged the rest of the first quarter.

It took them over 20 minutes, however, to apply their first sustained pressure on the home line during which time the Doncaster defence held up well.

Eagles also defended solidly and it wasn’t until they had flanker Rory Moloney sin-binned on 31 minutes that Knights were able to add to their account - wing Tyson Lewis rounding off some good handling to touch down in the corner just before the break

Knights opened well after the break with promising second-rower Glen Young rewarding more quality play with his first competitive try.

But Knights failed to build any sustained momentum and didn’t add to their score until the 61st minute when the lively Jarvis supplied the final touches to more quality build-up.

Eagles finally breached the Doncaster line on 77 minutes through No 8 Stephen McVeigh and but for a magnificent cover tackle by wing Sam Edgerley on Moloney, would have had a second try at the death.

DONCASTER KNIGHTS: Jarvis; Flockhart, Bulumakau, Hurrell, Lewis; Cusack, Heaney; List, Hunter, John, Hotson, Young, Makaafi, Hills,Shaw. Reps:Veikoso, Sprotson, Quigley, Phelan, Stedman, Edgerley, Field.

Referee: Dan Jones (WRFU).

Attendance: 1,245.