Doncaster Knights: Clive Griffiths unhappy with performance despite qualifying for last-eight

It was a mixed afternoon for Doncaster Knights in their final Championship Cup Pool 2 away to Hartpury University.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 6:26 pm
Yorkshire Carnegie v Doncaster Knights  sun 17th sept  Championship
Doncaster knights coach Clive Griffiths
Yorkshire Carnegie v Doncaster Knights sun 17th sept Championship Doncaster knights coach Clive Griffiths

Despite going down 37-24 they managed to book their place in the knockout stages for the first time by the narrowest of margins.

“We’ve qualified for the quarter-finals, which was the objective, but I was very disappointed with the result and the performance,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

“We’ve played really well in recent weeks in both the league and cup against big guns such as Jersey, Ealing and Newcastle and we were confident of beating them for the third time this season.

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“We didn’t expect it to be easy but we thought we’d be too strong for them in defence and that if we took our chances we’d win the game. I certainly didn’t see that result coming.

“We won the toss and elected to play into the strong wind in the first half and would have been reasonably happy and confident of victory had we come in at half-time trailing by a few points.

“We certainly didn’t expect to find ourselves 22-5 down at half-time and there were a lot of harsh words spoken during the interval.

“We had stressed all week, starting with an e-mail I sent to all the players last Sunday, that we couldn’t afford to take our foot off the gas and just go through the motions and expect to win.

“But for some reason our attitude in the first half wasn’t right and we didn’t create much.

“To be fair we only conceded one first half try – and that should have been disallowed for a forward pass – and it was their five penalties which really hurt us.

“We played better in the second half and scored another three tries and got right back into the game in the final quarter.

“But once again we conceded an interception try and that is one of the recurring themes of late that we’ve got to tackle going forward.”

Highly-rated centre Jack Roberts, who has missed more games than he has played since joining the club last season, faces another spell on the sidelines after coming off with a groin injury on his comeback game.

Ollie Stedman, who was ruled out after picking up a virus, as was skipper Michael Hills, on Thursday, will have a run out with Sale Jets tonight.

“He hasn’t played for six weeks so we’ve arranged for him to play 40 minutes to get some much-needed game time,” said Griffiths.

“Will Holling will also play tonight,” said the Welshman who plans to take in the game.