Change is good for Knights

RFU Championship

LYNN Howell’s axe wielding turn delivered the goods as a much improved Knights side swept to a 27-6 win at Llandovery in the British and Irish Cup.

Director of rugby Howells was left furious after the shock defeat to Championship basement boys Birmingham and Solihull the previous week and promised changes.

Dougie Flockhart, Paul Devlin, Nathan Jones, Steve Lawrie, Lewis Thiede, Matt Challinor and Jacob Rowan all came into the side for the trip to Wales.

The Knights dominated the forward play in conditions which ruled out open, running rugby to keep their hopes of progression from Pool D alive.

In gale force winds and torrential rain, Doncaster had the elements in their favour in the first half and were soon pinning Llandovery into their own 22, although the ball rarely left the pack as they drove relentlessly towards the home try line.

This early pressure was rewarded after seven minutes when centre PJ Gidlow got the touchdown from a ten-metre driving maul.

Fly-half Tristan Roberts kicked the conversion to put the visitors 7-0 ahead.

Roberts then increased the lead with a penalty kick from 22 metres out and in front of the posts.

Then, with Llandovery struggling to make an impact, Doncaster went further ahead when, from a line-out five metres from the home end, flanker Zak Farivarz plunged over wide out for a try which Roberts did well to convert from near the touchline.

It put the Knights 17 points clear before Llandovery finally got some points on the board when their former Knights fly-half Cerith Rees pulled back a penalty goal only for Roberts to restore the visitors’ margin in first-half stoppage time.

As the second half got under way Rees reduced the deficit again with an impressive penalty goal from halfway but after that it was one-way traffic as Doncaster’s forwards took control.

They had a 10 minute spell camped on the Llandovery line and then, after several five-metre scrums and driving mauls, the ball was moved quickly out to the left and Roberts was put clear.

He was pulled up ten metres short of the line, but the Knights were awarded a five-metre scrum and Gidlow dived over for his second try from the resulting drive.

Roberts had no trouble with the conversion kick from in front of the posts to seal the win.

The Knights remain in B&I Cup mode this weekend when they host Pontypridd on Saturday in a 2.30pm kick off.