Doncaster Knights: Cup exploits serve as confidence-booster, says Michael Hills

Michael Hills
Michael Hills

Barring injury, Doncaster-born Michael Hills will have the honour of leading his hometown club in their first ever national final next month.

But typical of the hard-working flanker, who scored one of the tries in Saturday’s B&I Cup semi-final against Bristol, he is not thinking of any personal glory.

“It was a brilliant team effort and that is what I’m most pleased about,” he said.

“Bristol see themselves as a Premiership club, as do most rugby fans, and it’s a great achievement for the club to not only win through to a major final but also to beat such a top team.

“The result will serve as a great confidence-booster for the final against Worcester and our five remaining Championship games, starting at London Scottish tomorrow night.”

Although Bristol were without several of their top players, they still went into last Saturday’s game as favourites but Hills said he was always confident of an upset.

“We did very well against them down there in the league and felt that we let them off the hook and we did exactly the same here,” he said.

“We knew that if we did what we had done in those two games and tightened up our defence, we could beat them.

“They scored a first minute try but there was a ‘no panic’ call because we know we are a team which can get back into games as we’ve proved all season. We know we have 80 minutes in us.

“We went in very confident leading 17-10 but we knew that they would come out strongly in the second half.

“We targeted the first ten minutes when they were down to 14 men but sometimes that’s not how it goes and they scored an early try.

“We went down to 14 men later in the half but we are used to playing a man down and we’ve dug in a few times so we know what to do in those situations. You can’t give away penalties and you need to keep hold of the ball and just run the clock down.

“It was tight at the end but we backed ourselves defensively.”