Doncaster Knights lose key warriors

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IT will be a much-changed Doncaster Knights’ team which takes to the field in the Championship next season following one of the biggest turnover of players at the end of a campaign for several years.

Among 19 players the club confirmed yesterday had departed Castle Park, are last season’s Player of the Year Zack Farivarz, fellow flanker Latu Makaafi and another crowd favourite, centre PJ Gidlow.

“The players have left for a variety of reasons - with two joining Premiership clubs - but mainly because they have been offered more money elsewhere,” said director of rugby Brett Davey yesterday.

“We also let go a couple we didn’t want to keep. It’s not an ideal situation and we would like to have kept some of the players but we can’t compete financially with other clubs; that’s the way it is.”

Fred Burdon, David McIllwaine, Oli Goss, Royce Burke-Flynn, Alex Brown and Stuart Corser are also among the players to have left.

The club’s Under-17s, meanwhile, will tackle Bishop’s Stortford in the final of the National KO Plate at Worcester on Sunday.

“The boys have had another good season and it would be nice to wrap it up with a win at Sixways,” said team manager Andrew Allen.

“Our opponents have obviously been playing very well to get to the final and score so many points in the process.

“But we showed against Derby that if we have to dig deep defensively, we have what it takes. Our success this season has been a real collective effort by all the squad and there are players who will miss the final who have made a full contribution.”