Given how tough promoted Bristol have found life back in the Premiership this season you could be forgiven for thinking Doncaster Knights are relieved to have missed out on promotion.
But you would be wrong and director of rugby Clive Griffiths’ desire to bring Premiership rugby to the town burns as fiercely as ever.
“I’m still not happy that we lost against Bristol over two legs in last season’s play-off final,” said the Welshman this week.
“What a fantastic experience it would have been this season for everyone connected with the club to be entertaining the big Premiership clubs in Doncaster.
“It would compare with Doncaster Rovers getting up into the Premier League.
“Bristol might have found it tough but that was always going to be the case given that the gap between the Premiership and the Championship is getting wider because of the money swilling around in the top flight.
“It didn’t help Bristol’s cause, as would have been the case had we gone up, that they didn’t know which league they’d be playing in this season until the end of May by which time all the top players have been snapped up and you have to look overseas.
“In an ideal situation you’d have most of the players you need signed up before you are promoted but that’s a risky business.
“There’s a long way to go and it’s too early to write Bristol off and the fact that they have yet to win a league game certainly hasn’t put me off wanting to get Doncaster up there.”
Griffiths admits that it is likely to prove even harder to win promotion this season.
“London Irish, who have kept the bulk of last season’s Premiership squad, are looking pretty strong at the moment with the players they’ve got and the game-plan they’ve adopted,” he said.
“Yorkshire Carnegie, who are now starting to see the benefit of their investment over the last couple of years, are also looking very strong after adding the likes of Stevie McColl and Ollie Stedman.
“We are currently third and if we can again finish in the top-four then all bets would be off in the play-offs.
“We’ll take stock of where we are and what we need to do midway through the season but we’ll not do anything to put the club into financial difficulties to try and reach the Premiership.
“But if the chance comes we’ll take it with open arms.
“But all I’m focusing on this week is preparing the side for what will be a very tough Championship game at London Welsh on Saturday.”