Matt Challinor has warned promotion favourites Worcester Warriors they are in for an uncomfortable ride at Castle Park today.
The long-serving second-row forward has been instrumental in Doncaster Knights’ fast start to life back in the Championship, one that has taken the division – if not those at the club – by surprise.
Doncaster have beaten Plymouth Albion and Jersey and go into the game with the team relegated from the Premiership, staring down at them from the lofty heights of third.
Challinor said of the club’s return to the Championship after a year in National One: “A lot of people have talked about us being relegation candidates but we felt confident we could compete.
“And those two victories have proved that.
“To have two teams that we are expected to be battling with first up, and two teams that contributed to us going down last time, was pretty ominous, so to get those two wins has given everyone a massive lift.
“It was definitely in the backs of the minds of the players who were here two years ago that Plymouth and Jersey helped sink us last time, and that made the victories all the more sweeter.
“It took us a long time to get two wins on the board two seasons ago, so to do so in the first fortnight of the season is fantastic, and a great platform to build from.”
Worcester arrive fresh from a derby victory over Moseley, which redressed the balance after their opening defeat to Bristol.
Over the course of the season they remain the team to beat, but Challinor said: “These are the teams that when you’re in National One, you want to be back playing against, so we’re going to relish coming up against Worcester this week and Yorkshire Carnegie next Sunday.
“We are confident because of what we have done so far,” he said.
“We can make it uncomfortable for Worcester at Castle Park.
“It’s our patch, we haven’t lost here for 16 months. They’re not in for an easy ride.”
Doncaster’s director of rugby Clive Griffiths has named an unchanged starting XV for today’s game.
The one change sees back-row forward Phil Eggleshaw recalled to the squad at the expense of Paul Roberts.