Brookes is expecting tough fight on hands at Doncaster

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Doncaster Knights will hand a debut to Leicester Tigers prop Keiran Brookes in tonight’s Championship game against Moseley.

The England Saxons international has plenty of previous Premiership experience with Newcastle Falcons and starts at tighthead after signing on dual-registration from former European champions Leicester.

Brookes, 22, is joined in the front-row by fit-again loose-head Tom Davies as Doncaster attempt to build on last week’s morale-boosting British & Irish Cup win at Nottingham, their first success of the campaign.

They have yet to prosper in the Championship as they approach their seventh fixture but this evening’s visitors to Castle Park are just one place above in the table and similarly vulnerable.

“The lads are in really good spirits and I’m positive we are a good enough team to beat Moseley at home,” said head coach Glen Kenworthy.

“Last week so many of our players stood up and played exceptionally; if we do that again we can beat any opposition in this league.”

Brookes, who struggled with a foot injury for much of last season at Welford Road, said: “I expect to come up against a lot of big and strong opposition in this league.

“Hopefully my past experience will aid me in the Championship, but I don’t expect anyone to give me any extra respect; I’m in for a tough battle.”

Rotherham Titans will be the latest side attempting to arrest prolific leaders Newcastle’s 100 per cent start to the season.

However, they make tonight’s intimidating trip to Kingston Park with yet more injury setbacks.

Already missing Neale Patrick, Latu Makaafi, Laurence Pearce and Pale Nonu, Barney Maddison (knee) is now out while Rory Pitman fractured an eye socket against Plymouth Albion, sidelining him for six weeks.

Their front-row is freshened up though with the recall of Shane Cahill, Dan Baines and Ross Davies, there is a return for winger Peter Homan, and scrum-half Jimmy Williams starts.

Andre Bester’s side have won six of their last seven games to increase confidence of an upset and Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards is certainly not expecting a comfortable evening.

“Rotherham are a big side not only in the pack but in the backline too,” he said.

“I don’t think we have come up against anything like that this season.”