Richard Horne interview: ‘I want Doncaster RLFC to be the entertainers!’

Richard Horne. Photo: Rob Terrace
Richard Horne. Photo: Rob Terrace

It is a big week for Dons boss Richard Horne who is part of Hull FC’s coaching team.

But though Horne is looking forward to being involved in Saturday’s Challenge Cup final against Wigan at Wembley he is not taking his eye off the ball as far as Doncaster’s League One Super 8s campaign is concerned.

“A Wembley final is obviously a great occasion to be involved in, as would be the case where I to take Doncaster to the League One Grand Final,” he said.

“I still think that Toronto will be the team automatically promoted even though they’ve lost one and drawn one of their four games.

“Their first three were over here and I think a bit of complacency might have set in. Maybe they thought they could just turn up and play to 60 per cent of their potential and they’d get the job done but that didn’t prove to be the case.

“One thing I’ve learned about this division is that everyone turns up with the mentality that the other side are going to have to work hard if they want to win.”

With Barrow and Whitehaven looking to have second and third spots sewn up the Dons find themselves in a battle with the likes of York and Keighley for the remaining two play-off spots.

However, Horne still entertains hopes of winning promotion in his first season in charge.

“We’ve obviously got to make sure that we finish in the top five and then it’s knockout football and anything can happen but we’d back ourselves against anyone.” he said.

Horne is aware that the club set themselves a target of Super League in five years at the start of the season.

“With the facilities Doncaster has got everything in place to achieve Super League status,” he said. “We just need to put a plan in place which over time would help us to achieve the ambitions of the owners and the players.

“It is going to be a process of just building and hopefully we can achieve it quicker (than has been talked about) because the owners have shown they are prepared to invest.”

Irrespective of where the Dons finish this season, Horne says that he has no regrets about taking over at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“Coaching was something that I started looking at five or six years ago when I was still playing for Hull and I volunteered to help out with the young lads,” he said.

“I used to give up my time and help out with the under-16s on a Tuesday and Fridays.

“It was a progression from there and I started working with the under-19s then I moved on to the reserves and then being involved with the first team and now I’m head coach at Doncaster. I am enjoying it.”

He added: “Working at Hull you are working with top players and to be honest at times they don’t always need a lot of coaching. They just need a bit of guidance.

“Whereas at Doncaster I’m working with some players who are young and who have previously been involved in a (development) system (at a big club) but who dropped out of it for whatever reason and helping them to develop.

“I hope that all the players are responding to my coaching methods and I think you can see that in the games.

“I think the way that I’m wanting them to play is a big key factor: I want them to throw the ball about and play.

“I’m someone who likes to see a team chance their arm a bit. If we are going to get beat let us go down in a game where we’ve tried to entertain and tried to play and tried to create chances.

“I don’t want us to be a team which just tries to grind out a result, although there are times when you have to do that and have to change your mind-set going into a game.”

Horne is hoping that the exciting brand of rugby he wants the Dons to play – evident in the first 20 minutes of the recent win over Whitehaven – will help boost crowds at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“If we can start winning regularly and do it with in entertaining style, then hopefully more people will start turning up,” he said.