Doncaster Knights bid to reach British & Irish Cup final

Bevon Armitage
Bevon Armitage

Doncaster Knights are just 80 minutes away from their first major national final.

They take on Championship rivals Bristol Rugby in Saturday’s B&I Cup semi-final at Castle Park (2pm) hoping that it will be a case of third time lucky.

Although promotion-chasing Bristol have won both previous encounters, Knights boss Clive Griffiths feels that the two games were close enough to offer a realistic hope of victory on Saturday.

Much will depend on the teams the two clubs put out as they both focus on their respective league campaigns.

Knights, who boast a 100 per cent record in the competition this year, as do Bristol, have opted to field strong teams whilst never losing sight of their main target this season.

Their win at Moseley on Friday night served to give them more breathing space in that respect and there is no doubting that Griffiths would love to reach the final as well as retaining Championship status.

Knights will show several enforced changes to the side which beat Moseley.

Fly-half Piers Francis flew out to New Zealand earlier this week to rejoin his club side ahead of their 2015 campaign and dual-reg centre Terrence Hepetama is cup-tied.

The latter has impressed Griffiths in the two games he has played for the club.

“He’s got good pace and can beat a man and he’s got a good pair of hands,” he said.

His loss will be off-set by the return of Bevon Armitage, who failed to regain his place after serving a one-match suspension following the Leicester man’s impressive debut against Bristol.

Francis enjoyed a bit of a roller-coaster time during his four-month stint at the club – starting and ending well with a dip in form at times in between.

The two parties discussed a possible future return before Francis left but nothing was finalised.

Paul Roberts is likely to return at the weekend, while forwards Will Foden and Phil Eggleshaw are also expected to come into contention.

Club captain Matt Challinor could be rested.