Doncaster Knights v Yorkshire Carnegie: Stedman back on old stomping ground to face familar foe
TWO years after initially leaving, Ollie Stedman makes his '˜second' debut for Doncaster Knights today '“ against opponents he left just 12 months ago.
The powerful No 8 has certainly done the rounds of late.
Having helped Knights to the Championship Final against Bristol in 2016, he re-joined Yorkshire Carnegie for 2016-17.
Halfway through his second season back at Headingley, though, Stedman left for Championship rivals Ealing Trailfinders.
However, his stay there has been cut short with the talented ex-Newcastle Falcons forward agreeing to return to Castle Park on Thursday in a deal until the end of the season.
Stedman, 27, comes straight into Clive Griffiths’s starting line-up for the Championship Cup game there against Carnegie this afternoon.
On his day one of the competition’s most destructive back-rowers, it is a timely addition as Doncaster prepare to return to league action at the end of the month.
“We’re thankful to Ben Ward for letting him join a competitor in the Championship,” admitted Griffiths.
“Ollie played some of his best rugby in his last spell here and we anticipate he will again now he is more experienced. We have been very short on numbers lately as we went into the Nottingham game with three hookers in the 22 so it is a much welcome addition that Ollie has joined us.”
New Zealand hooker Mike Mayhew, another former Carnegie player, could make his debut off the bench with Doncaster making a number of changes to the squad that lost 33-20 in last week’s Championship Cup game against the same opponents at Hull Ionians. Kurt Morath and Josh Tyrell return from international duty and Henry Seniloli makes the bench but new recruit Rory Pitman misses out through an injury sustained last week.
Carnegie director of rugby Chris Stirling, meanwhile, is set to give two more players their debuts in today’s game.
Full-back Myles Thoroughgood, 23, sgned for the remainder of the season from Northland in New Zealand. Having joined from Premiership outfit Bath on loan, hooker Sam Nixon will also make his first appearance for the club.
Experienced centre Pete Lucock (knee) is ruled out, Andy Forsyth, Craig Mitchell and Antonio Kiri Kiri are rested and scrum-half Olly Fox is away with the England Under 20s squad.
Centre Tom Bullough failed a fitness test yesterday so is replaced by Jacob Umaga, Jade Te Rure starting at fly-half instead.