Owen gets first chance to lead the Knights

Flashback: Bristols Ian Evans and Doncaster Knights Matt Challinor during their 2016 Championship final, second leg at Ashton Gate.
Flashback: Bristols Ian Evans and Doncaster Knights Matt Challinor during their 2016 Championship final, second leg at Ashton Gate.
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DONCASTER KNIGHTS get a first look at Championship leaders Bristol when they face the relegated Premiership side in today’s British & Irish Cup game.

The last time they met at Ashton Gate was in May last year when Doncaster famously won 34-32 in their Championship final second leg but lost 60-40 on aggregate and so missed out on a first-ever promotion to the elite.

Bristol fell straight back down but have started life in the second tier in typical form with six straight league wins.

Obviously, there are changes for both sides as they rotate their squads for the B&I Cup.

With captain Michael Hills on the bench along with Matt Challinor, centre Will Owen leads Doncaster for the first time since his summer move from Rotherham Titans.

Owen is ever-present so far and was captain for Rotherham last term so has experience of the role. Declan Cusack switches from stand off to full-back with Simon Humberstone in at No 10.

Tighthead Ian Williams makes his first competitive start in a Knights shirt with dual-registered youngster Curtis Langdon at hooker, Newcastle Falcons loanee Nick Civetta gets a shot at lock, Academy man Sam Jones gets his second start of the season but at openside not blindside while Academy wing James Wright is set to debut from the bench.

Similarly, Yorkshire Carnegie coach James Lowes has made 10 changes to his starting line-up as they face London Scottish ‘on the road’ at Ilkley tomorrow.

With Alex Davies and Callum Irvine sidelined through injury, centre Pete Lucock gets the chance to play at fly-half, where he played the majority of the recent Championship game at Richmond, and he also captains the side. Marc Thomas and Charlie Beech return to the front-row.

Josh Bainbridge is in the back-row after missing last week’s defeat at Jersey Reds.

Tom Casson and Ben West both return from injury whilst Sam Wolstenholme is set to make his debut off the bench having played at Hull Ionians this season on dual-registration.

Youngsters Harry Newborn, Elliott Ward and Tom Bullough retain their place on the bench.

Rotherham seek to build on their first win of the season when they head to Richmond in today’s B&I Cup contest.