Video: Fylde tackle league leaders

0
Have your say

The two top-scoring sides in National League One square up when Fylde travel to leaders Doncaster Knights on Saturday.

And coach Mark Nelson has underlined the size of the task facing his side.

Beaumont - back in action for Fylde

Beaumont - back in action for Fylde

Knights run a full-time professional operation and like to boast that they are the most promoted club in the history of English rugby - they have designs even greater than getting back into the Championship next season at the first attempt.

Nelson said: “Doncaster have ambitions to play in the Premiership and they will be favourites for every game they play this season.

“They have made a clear statement that they don’t think they belong in this division.

“But it is a challenge that all the players are looking forward to.

“Doncaster have the best facility in the division and there will be a big crowd.

“What it does is that it make it an exciting day-out for us and an exciting challenge for all the players.”

Nelson’s Doncaster counterpart Clive Griffiths said: “Fylde are a points machine - they are scoring 30 and conceding 30

“We like what they bring to the party so it’s going to be testing.”

Doncaster have taken maximum points from their first four matches so far, picking up 160 points in the process, only five more than Fylde.

However, a telling statistic is that free-scoring Fylde have conceded 141 points, only 12 points less than Hull Ionians, who have lost their first four games.

Needless to say, defence has been a big priority in training this week for Fylde, who shipped 50 points in their loss to Worthing Raiders last Saturday.

Fylde will be boosted by the return of skipper Evan Stewart, while fellow back-rower Sam Beaumont has his first senior match back since a shoulder operation in April.

Simon Griffiths comes back into the front row, while is young Ulster utility back Michael Lawton was considered for selection after two impressive run-outs in the second XV during which he scored six tries and landed 12 conversions for a total of 30 points, though in the end Nelson decided against selection.

He said: “Lawton was very close to being picked, but in the end I decided it would be wrong to ask him to make his debut against opponents like Doncaster on their own ground.”

Ryan De La Harpe will continue at scrum-half, but will be unavailable for the next two matches against Loughborough Students and Tynedale as he is attending his brother’s wedding in his native Namibia.

Fylde (v Doncaster) Viney; Spragg, C Briers, Barrow, Brennand; Johnson, De La Harpe; Birchall, Rylance, Griffiths, Arnold, Gore, Robinson, Stewart, Beaumont. Replacements: Altham, Burtonwood, Lewis, Dorrington, S Briers.