'A difficult day at the office' for Doncaster Knights despite beating Hartpury
Doncaster Knights made a winning start to their Championship campaign for the first time in several years.
But director of rugby Clive Griffiths admitted the club will need to play better than they did in their 20-8 win at Hartpury if they hope to be challenging for a top-four spot this season.
“You could say that we had a difficult day at the office and that aspects of our performance will have frustrated those supporters who travelled down there,” he said.
“But at the end of the day we found a way to win at a ground which has proved a graveyard for some teams in the past.
“It wasn’t the all-round performance that we had been hoping for and without being unduly critical because we won, we were really average with the ball but were terrific without it.”
If Griffiths was critical of the way Knights performed in attack he was equally scathing of the referee and made his feelings known to the assessor.
“They only scored one try and that shouldn’t have stood because there was both a forward pass and a knock-on in the build-up,” he argued.
Griffiths, who wants Knights to play an entertaining brand of rugby, also claimed the referee’s decision-making in other areas of the game contributed to the disappointing spectacle.
Knights suffered a blow when losing strong-running No 8 Rory Pitman - the man-of-the-match in the Championship Cup win over Jersey last time out - with a rib injury in the first half and had to play prop Joe Sproston there for a time.
“We’re not sure how bad it is at this moment in time but I don’t think he’ll play against Cornish Pirates this weekend,” said Griffiths.
“Fortunately, Ollie Stedman will be available after completing his suspension and he’ll come in at No 8 if he is ruled out.”
One forward who definitely will start is Matt Smith.
“I thought he was our man-of-the-match by a country mile,” said Griffiths, who admitted he couldn’t relax with the score standing at 13-8 throughout the final quarter until centre Pete Lucock’s late converted try.