Leeds aim to bounce back and take revenge on Knights

Jacob Rowan says the hurt of last week’s humbling at Newcastle Falcons will inspire Leeds against Yorkshire rivals Doncaster tonight.

Leeds were thumped 53-10 by the promotion favourites last week, just five days after they themselves had smashed 50 points past Bristol.

Tonight they welcome winless Doncaster, a game given extra spice by the fact that it is the first act in the inaugural Yorkshire Regiment Trophy between the county’s three representatives in the Championship.

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The concept is that results from the Championship games between the three teams will determine who wins the trophy.

For 22-year-old Carnegie captain Rowan, though, points on the board in the race for the top four is the priority.

“We were really disappointed last week. We went to Newcastle confident after the good result against Bristol,” said Rowan. “The short turnaround didn’t have much to do with it, we went there looking to get a good result. We can’t use that as an excuse, we need to be tough on ourselves.

“We’ve looked at where we went wrong and we’re going to come out firing against them.

“This is a huge game for us, we’ve worked hard this week and after failing to beat them last season that just adds to it for us.

“Their league form isn’t great but they got a good result against Pirates and they’ll take huge confidence from that because Pirates have been in the promotion final the last two years.

“They’ll be coming up to Leeds thinking they can turn us over. They did that last season so we owe them one.”

Doncaster picked up their first positive result of the season last week when they drew with Cornish Pirates, but a first victory remains elusive.

Captain Matt Challinor said of their performances so far: “The result against Plymouth was hard to take. We had a good pre-season, spirits were high, so it was disappointing.

“I know we lost heavily against Newcastle but there were positives to take out of that, and the same with the Pirates game.

“We are quietly confident. We’ve had a lot of new players and it takes time to gel, but we’re confident we’ll come good.

“It’s been said that the Championship is the most competitive than it’s ever been and I completely agree with that. When it was 16 teams, there were a couple of gimmies here and there.

“This season, you’re fighting for every point you can get.”

Leeds make six changes as David and James Doherty return in the backs.

Joe Graham is back at hooker after being ineligible against parent club Newcastle, Mike Myerscough replaces Dan Hemingway in the second-row and Richard Beck and Ryan Burrows are both back in the starting line-up.