THE prospect of facing Richmond might not have the same lustre as Saracens but Doncaster Knights have already turned their attention to that meeting on Saturday and making sure they suffer no “hangover” for the remainder of the Championship season.
Steve Boden’s side lost 50-15 against former Premiership and European champions Saracens on Sunday when, amongst others, they came up against England captain Owen Farrell plus his Test colleagues Maro Itoje, Jamie George, Elliot Daly and the Vunipola brothers.
It was certainly no ordinary fixture at Castle Park in what was the biggest test in the proud South Yorkshire club’s entire history.
Doncaster, of course, had previously won all five of their opening league games to leave them in an envious position at the halfway point of the truncated campaign.
However, the worry is that a first defeat and the emotional and physical scars of facing such formidable opponents, could see them now drop off slightly from the standards being set by Boden and his staff.
Fly-half Sam Olver, so influential for the Knights so far, said: “It’s massive that we make sure that defeat is just a one-off.
“We spoke about how we can’t have a hangover from this game.
“It was a physical contest but we can’t just rest on that and not attack the Richmond fixture.
“We’ve still got four more games this season; they are four games we want to win and to see where we finish at the end of the year.”
Doncaster have been the surprise package of the campaign so far, making great strides in Boden’s first season in charge since he was promoted from assistant coach.
They impressed in spells against their illustrious opponents at the weekend, scoring two deserved tries towards the end of the contest.
“We stuck in the fight for the whole 80 minutes,” said Olver, a former England Under-20s international who started out his career at Premiership club Northampton Saints.
“They are a clinical outfit and they are hard to stay with when they are playing on top and are getting quick ball.
“But you can’t fault our boys and the effort we put in.
“Yes, we weren’t clinical at times but, as Bodes said in there, you can’t fault the attitude.”
Olver, possibly the smallest player on the pitch, could be heard daring Wales international centre Nick Tompkins to run at him early on in the contest.
But he explained: “I’ve known Nick since we were 17.
“We were good mates through the age groups so I have a really good relationship with him.
“That was just a bit of verbals back and forth. We enjoyed the game. Saracens are pretty physical aren’t they?
“We got through it pretty unscathed. There’s just a few sore bodies in there.”
Olver was directly up against England fly-half Farrell.
Asked what that experience was like, he said: “ I’ve done it a couple of times before.
“He’s a competitor isn’t he? He wants to win and it’s the same with us. But you don’t mark out individuals and go against them individually. It’s a team thing.”
Which is the essence of what Boden is instilling. Richmond will not need reminding.
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