Jersey Reds v Doncaster Knights – Injuries bite but Clive Griffiths has eye on new faces

BANNED: Doncaster Knights' Matt Challinor misses the trip to Jersey.'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
BANNED: Doncaster Knights' Matt Challinor misses the trip to Jersey.'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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DONCASTER Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths conceded his depleted squad must “dig deep” to secure victory at Jersey Reds tonight.

The South Yorkshire club travel with almost the majority of their first-choice pack missing and have made another four changes to the side that lost 44-25 against Cornish Pirates.

Doncaster Knights' director of rugby Clive Griffiths

Doncaster Knights' director of rugby Clive Griffiths

Griffiths will look to recruit some new additions shortly with the Mitre 10 Cup competition reaching its conclusion in New Zealand this weekend and players also becoming available after the World Cup.

However, this is only the third round of the Championship campaign and Griffiths described the situation as “frustration multiplied by 10” as he prepared his squad for the Channel Islands trip.

“It’s a tough place to go with everyone available but, if I hadn’t had a stent in my heart, I’d be playing myself on Friday,” said the Welshman.

“We’ve three locks and three back-rows missing for different reasons.

It’s the worst I’ve ever known. I thought after last season and the season before things might change but it hasn’t. We’re back to square one and it’s costing us dearly.

Doncaster Knights’ director of rugby, Clive Griffiths

“We’ve a hooker playing back-row tomorrow and a tighthead coming in at lock.

“It’s the worst I’ve ever known. I thought after last season and the season before things might change but it hasn’t.

“We’re back to square one and it’s costing us dearly. You know it’s going to happen but you don’t expect that many all at once.

“It’s all hands to the deck on Friday night and we’ll have to dig deep.

“It’s going to be a tough, uncompromising game. We’re under the pump.”

Matt Smith and Tom Hicks are the latest to join the sidelines while fellow lock Matt Challinor is still banned and flanker Sam Jones is also out.

Hooker George Edgson switches to second-row while centre Jack Roberts is continuing to return to fitness in Sheffield Tigers colours tomorrow.

No 8 Rory Pitman and winger Dougie Flockhart remain injured as does fly-half Kurt Morath who cracked his windpipe playing for Tonga in the World Cup.

Rouban Birch, who joins on loan from Sale Sharks, comes in at second-row while there are also places for Marc Thomas, George Edgson and Cameron Cowell.

Will Holling and Sam Pocklington are added to the bench.