Clive Griffiths reacts to defeat at Newcastle Falcons and admits Doncaster Knights must start winning to avoid 'staring down barrel'

Doncaster Knights may have come away empty-handed from their Championship clash against unbeaten leaders Newcastle Falcons at Castle Park in terms of points.

Sunday, 12th January 2020, 4:40 pm
Clive Griffiths

But after reflecting on the club’s 34-10 defeat director of rugby Clive Griffiths insisted that there were a number of positives on the night that the club can take into this week’s training.

“We set off well and led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter and we unlucky to come in at half time trailing 15-3,” he said.

“They scored three tries late in the half – two of which were from catch-and-drives which are very hard to defend against.

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“They had to go that way because, although they had created other chances, they’d struggled to open us up because we defended so well,” said the Welshman.

“It didn’t help that we had (back-rower) Wian Conradie sin-binned when it was 10-3. They scored tries either side of half-time to open up a 20-3 lead while he was off.

“To concede a try from a dropped ball in the first minute of the second half was the last thing we wanted but the floodgates never looked like opening and we restricted them to just one more try – which we cancelled out – until we gifted them another with a wayward pass in our own 22 in stoppage time.”

Knights gave a starting debut at Championship level to former Academy hooker Will Holling.

“It was a tough game for Will to make his first start but he played well and justified his place in the side,” said Griffiths. “He missed with a couple of line out throws in the blustery conditions but so did their hooker.

“Ben Hunter, who was rested, remains our No 1 hooker but we’ve now got two players – Will and George Edgson - fighting it out for the second spot.”

Knights remain third bottom but second-bottom Bedford closed to within a point after picking up a win and Griffiths is also concerned that bottom club Yorkshire Carnegie could start to pick up points following recent developments at the Leeds-based club.

“The next three games, starting with Nottingham at Castle Park, are very important and we need to win them otherwise we could be starting to look down the barrel,” said Griffiths.

Knights were due to check on half-backs Sam OIver, substituted at half-time on Friday after taking a knock to the head, and Tom James, who picked up a knock in the second, on Monday.