DONCASTER Knights’ Director of Rugby Brett Davey knows it’s a last chance saloon tomorrow for his ambitious side if they want to keep their faint Championship play-off semi-final hopes alive.
The Knights entertain on-song London Welsh at Castle Park having give the Exiles a rough ride last weekend in their first qualifying pool meeting.
Davey’s team were on course for springing an upset at Old Deer Park last Saturday when they led Welsh by seven points at half-time.
But their hosts battled back to clinch a 34-24 win and are sitting pretty in second place in the table having won two and drawn one of their pool matches so far.
“We know we’ve got to win to stand any chance of qualifying, so we’ll be giving it our best shot,” Davey told The Star.
“We showed what we can do against them last weekend and played really well in that first half.
“But we know they’re a good side and we’ve got to play with the same spirit and determination if we’re going to get something from the match.”
A defeat for the Knights, who have also lost to Bristol and Nottingham in qualifying, would keep them rooted to the bottom of the table with just two games to play and not enough points on offer to keep their semi-final hopes burning.
Skipper Chris Hallam will definitely be missing with a suspected broken rib, with vice captain Matt Challinor taking charge.
Michael Heaney is now fully fit and could start having recovered from injury, with youngster Tom Francis, who impressed against Welsh last weekend, is also likely to feature.
Knights’ forwards coach Glen Kenworthy has stressed the need for getting rid of the mistakes which potentially cost them victory against the Exiles.
“Overall it was a good performance, and I’m scratching my head to know how we lost it,” admitted Kenworthy. “Two of their tries came from mistakes at the line-out and one from an interception.
“Having said that the first half was one of our best this season - the backs were firing and we scored three good tries.
“But we’re confident ahead of their visit on Saturday. We will get into them and disrupt their set-pieces. We want to put on a good home performance and light the fire for the fans.”
Welsh head coach Lyn Jones is expecting another tough test from the Knights, especially on their home patch.
“We just need to make sure that we face Doncaster’s challenge with a little bit more pride for the red shirt,” said Jones.
“We were disappointed to concede 24 points and four tries, and the manner of the points scored was very careless.
“We kicked badly, we kicked long, we didn’t play enough first half and at the end of the day Doncaster wanted it a bit more than we did.”