Doncaster Knights boss wants a swansong season to remember
Doncaster Knights boss Clive Griffiths is hoping to go out on a high.
The long-serving Welshman, who will be stepping down as the club’s director of rugby at the end of the season, wants Knights to hit the ground running in Saturday’s Championship Cup opener against Hartpury.
“We are at home in our opening fixture for the first time in several years and we want to show our supporters what we are capable of,” said Griffiths.
“Even though we beat Rams 33-0 in our final pre-season game and scored some nice tries, I was disappointed not to score more than we did on a perfect day for playing an expansive game.”
The most successful coach in the club’s history, Griffiths was more pleased with Knights’ defensive efforts both on the day and in the two away fixtures.
“We’ve done a lot of work on our defence during pre-season and to concede just three tries – including one from an interception – in our three warm-up games was very encouraging and something we are keen to build on going forward,” he said.
Griffiths, and fellow coaches Dougie Flockhart, Steve Boden and Francis Cummins, are also looking to make Castle Park a fortress again.
“If you can win all your home games, or most of them, and also pick up bonus points, then you won’t go down,” he said. “If you can do that and win 50 per cent of your away games then you’ll be challenging in the top-four.
“We also want to entertain the supporters at Castle Park.
“Although there have been good performances since, we haven’t played as well as we did when putting 50 points past Ealing, who were second at the time, at the back end of the 2017-18 campaign.
“We want to be producing those sort of performances on a more regular basis this season.”
Although the league will again be the club’s priority, Griffiths says Knights’ focus is firmly set on the Championship Cup for the next month.
“We’ve got a tough group with relegated Newcastle and Jersey as well as Hartpury, but we’ll be looking to qualify for the knockout stages, which we didn’t do last season,” he said.
“We are certainly taking the competition seriously and we’ll be fielding our strongest team in our first three group games over the next three weeks.
“We’ve been able to put together a bigger squad than last season, thanks to Steve Lloyd and Tony De Mulder making more funding available.
“Hopefully that will provide better cover for injuries which affected us so badly last season when we regularly had over half-a-dozen sidelined.”
Griffiths admits that the bigger squad – three more players are expected to arrive at Castle Park in the coming weeks – will give the coaching staff a selection headache.
“Having so many players available for selection – and centre Jack Roberts and wing Kyle Evans are both fit - means that some players will miss out on the first game but everyone will get their chance,” he added.