Sam Olver Exclusive: The cousin of the Curry twins hoping to shine in Premiership Rugby Cup

Sam Olver and Doncaster have exciting games against Premiership opposition over the next couple of weeks
©John Ashton

Doncaster Knights' Sam Olver is expecting one of the club's biggest crowds at Castle Park on Friday night to watch their Premiership Rugby Cup clash against top-flight side Bristol Bears.

And it should also be a big couple of weekends for the 28-year-old.

Olver has recovered from a groin injury in time for Doncaster's meeting with Bristol and the Knights also face Premiership opposition in the form of Northampton Saints at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens next Sunday.

But besides Olver's return and the prospect of pitting his wits against top-flight sides, his cousin Tom Curry is expected to mark the end of his two-game ban by playing for England against Samoa next Saturday having been controversially sent off in their opening Rugby World Cup game against Argentina.

"I thought Tom was pretty hard done by, to be honest, getting a ban after what happened with the other instances that weekend that were very similar and those players didn't get banned," Olver tells TRU.

"I think there needs to be some sort of consistency. We're [the Olver family] really excited to see Tom back, he's obviously a world-class player and whenever he's played for England, he's done well. Hopefully, he can find some form and go into the knockout stages full of confidence."

With Olver hoping to see England - and cousin Curry - progress over in France, the Premiership Rugby Cup will be his first priority as Doncaster look to embrace the visit of Bristol: "I think they've [Doncaster] sold quite a lot of tickets for Friday night, so it will be one of the largest crowds a lot of the boys have played in front of. There's a real buzz and excitement around the place."

Doncaster are second in their pool behind the unbeaten Ealing Trailfinders and are above Northampton and Bristol with Cambridge bottom. With the start of the regular Premiership just around the corner, Championship sides are expecting to face stronger squads in the remaining games with only the top team going into the semi-finals.

Bristol, who have just signed France international centre Virimi Vakatawa, is a match which offers the revamped Knights squad the chance to show they are a stronger force in all competitions this season. Doncaster finished in a disappointing fifth in the Championship last term and there were a remarkable 20 departures from the squad in the summer.

"I think there needed to be a fairly decent turnover of players after how we went last season - not performing to what we had previously,” said Olver.

"The guys coming in have brought new energy to the club. "We've actually taken on quite a few Ealing players and they've looked really good in the last few games. Oliver Fox was at Bath, then went to Ealing and wasn't getting played. He went off to Australia and played in the Shute Shield. He's come in and has been really good offering a lot of competition to Alex Dolly our other scrum half who is a class player.

"So we've got two really strong nines, which is good for any squad and they'll be fighting each other for position. I think to be honest, there'll be quite a lot of rotation. With it being such a long season, you have to have a competitive squad where anyone can just come in at any time.”

Olver, who previously played for Premiership sides Northampton and Worcester, believes the new format of the Premiership Rugby Cup provides an opportunity for young, ambitious players looking to make their mark in professional rugby. He added: “It (the Championship) is a stepping stone for enthusiastic, ambitious young players to go on to the next level. This Prem Cup is the perfect shop window to test yourself against the best."

Sadly, the latest round of Premiership Rugby Cup action has been overshadowed by the news that Jersey Reds have become the latest club to go into administration, just a few months after lifting the Championship title for the first time in their history.

The club have said they blame a lack of clarity about the future of English rugby's second tier while the Rugby Football Union responded on Thursday by saying: "It is disappointing that investors would take decisions at this early point in the season to place the club in such a position."

As the leading club in the region, Doncaster, themselves, are hosting a conference before their clash with Bristol where the largest gathering of representatives from Yorkshire's rugby union fraternity will discuss the future of the game within the county and beyond.

Planning for the future is seemingly becoming more and more important for unions, clubs and players as English rugby's financial crisis continues with Oliver, 28, already mapping out his plans after forming a property investment business with Ampthill’s Jack Spittle.

For now though, Olver's outlook is one of positivity. The outside half remains totally committed to helping the Knights reach their potential and is now raring to go after some groin injury troubles: “It's been frustrating in and out of training and rehab. I’m just really excited to get out on Friday night, just buzzing to be out there with the boys to go up against, hopefully, a tough Bristol team."


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