DONCASTER KNIGHTS fly-half Simon Humberstone has warned his side they must sharpen up today or they will simply suffer another embarrassment at the hands of relentless London Irish.
The South Yorkshire side – who have announced the signing of 22-year-old Newcastle Falcons hooker David Nelson for next season – have a gargantuan 32 points to make up in their Championship semi-final second leg at Madejski Stadium.
Hapless Doncaster were vanquished 35-3 at Castle Park last Sunday after being utterly outplayed by the side that finished top of the Championship table.
Even against such revered opponents, few Knights supporters expected such a poor display from their own side who famously reached the Championship final last term.
Neither does anyone expect them to overturn the damage this afternoon but Humberstone, the 29-year-old former Cardiff Blues player, demands they restore some pride at least.
“It was a combination of two things,” he said.
“London Irish are a very, very good side. You have to be on the money if you are going to keep with them let alone beat them and we were disappointed with what we put out there last week.
“We’re better than that. Hopefully we’ll get one more opportunity this week to show we are better than that but they are very clinical and almost like a machine at times the way they keep ticking over. They put us to the sword and it was a tough one to swallow.
“We’re a very proud bunch and that pride’s been dented.
“But when you look at it methodically we’ve played them three times this season and only scored eight points. That’s not good enough at all. We’ve had to look back at the video, try come up with some things that can cause these guys problems and be a bit more accurate with what we put out there.
We were not up to their level and have to sort it or something similar will happen again.Doncaster Knights’ Simon Humberstone
“We were not up to their level and have to sort it or something similar will happen again.”
Although Irish are unchanged as they seek to take another step towards an immediate promotion back into the Premiership, Doncaster have made alterations, some enforced.
Lock Glen Young has been ruled out due to concussion so Jarad Williams comes in while fit-again player of the year Jack Ram returns at blindside with Knights hoping the Fijian will bring more bite.
Tighthead Colin Quigley (rib) is ruled out so WillGriff John, who moves to Premiership Sale Sharks next season, starts and Joe Sprotson is called into the 22.
Mat Clark, who played his first game after injury last Sunday, has picked up another injury in training. Dave Nolan comes onto the bench and could feature for the first time since February.
Goole, who have just secured promotion from Yorkshire Three, look to complete their season in style when they face Gloucester side Spartans in the Junior Vase final at Twickenham this morning.