Knights hoping to beat the freeze after Jackson blow

THE cold snap is giving Lynn Howells the chills as he attempts to build on Doncaster Knights' impressive first half of the season.

The Knights host South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham Titans at Castle Park tomorrow with Howells hoping the freezing conditions relent for the game to go ahead.

"We've got the field covered and hopefully we'll get it on," said the Knights' director of rugby, whose side's league momentum was checked in midweek by Championship leaders Worcester in the first of two matches that have already required re-arranging.

"We certainly don't want the backlog of fixtures we had last year and the worrying thing for me is we've still got potentially two months of this weather."

Doncaster are fifth and have played two games more than Andre Bester's Rotherham, and like the rest of the clubs in the area they have struggled to get not only game-time but training sessions under their belt.

The Knights reached the semi-finals of the British and Irish Cup last season and begin their campaign this term against a side they have already beaten at Castle Park.

Howells starts with an untested half-back partnership of Leeds Carnegie's Christian Lewis-Pratt and Nathan Jones with James Craig and Dom Parsons joining forces in the second row,

They have been rocked, though, by the loss of their dynamic No 8 Ed Jackson who is out for 10 weeks with injury.

Howells said: "The changes I've made are purely because we're welcoming back players. It's a matter of keeping the squad playing because you don't know when your next match is going to be off."

Bester, meanwhile, has been busy in the transfer market, bringing prop Ben Prescott back to the club.

Prescott impressed in his one season at Clifton Lane before earning a move to Nottingham. Leinster then picked him up in the summer but he has fallen out of favour in Ireland and has chosen to return to Rotherham.

"I was keen to go on loan to get regular rugby at a good level because I haven't played as many games as I would have liked for Leinster," said Prescott.

"I've been playing club rugby in Ireland which means I am coming to Rotherham match-ready and I'm hoping to get into the squad for the Bees game next week."

Prescott is ineligible for tomorrow's British & Irish Cup match against Doncaster, having already represented Leinster in the competition.

"I had a good time at Rotherham and it was an enjoyable time for me," said Prescott.

"Obviously I was playing under a different coaching set-up but I'm very interested in working with Andre."

Although ineligible to play at Castle Park, Prescott will be available for the Titans' crucial league trip to Birmingham and Solihull on Boxing Day.

Leeds have made four changes to their side for the trip to Crociati Rugby in the European Challenge Cup.

Leigh Hinton starts at full-back and Ceiron Thomas reverts to fly-half in place of Lachlan MacKay.

Phil Swainston comes in for Juan Gomez and is joined in the front row by Mike MacDonald.