Knights must bounce back

Making case: Stuart Lancaster
Making case: Stuart Lancaster

Doncaster Knights travel to Meadow Lane on Sunday for their second game in this season’s play offs against Nottingham and will be anxious to put aside the nightmare of their record home defeat against league leaders Bristol at Castle Park last Friday evening.

The Knights, already missing several key players through injury, will be hoping that those who had to leave the field on Friday will have recovered in time for the trip.

Over recent seasons the Knights have had mixed fortunes against Nottingham but they too will be coming into the match on the back of a defeat, in their case away against London Welsh.

Knights have lost all three of their previous matches against Nottingham this season – two in the Championship and one in the B&I Cup – so will need a much improved performance if they are to get their play-off campaign back on the road.

The structure of next season was discussed by the Championship clubs last week and agreed by a majority vote. 

However, as the Championship is the RFU’s tournament, the final decision rests with the Management Board which next meets on March 21.  Expect a formal announcement shortly afterwards.

At least one good thing over the weekend for English supporters was the defeat of France in Paris last Sunday.

Stuart Lancaster, the interim coach, is certainly making a case to be offered the role permanently although whether he will get it remains to be seen.

My fear is that it will be a poisoned chalice such are the vagaries of England’s performances over recent seasons.

A question that surely needs to be addressed in the near future is why England in all the age group games up to and including the Under 20s seem to beat Wales and Ireland quite regularly and yet the results don’t translate to the senior level.

Considering all the money that England throw at their academy system you have to ask the question as to whether it is money well spent?