Doncaster Knights’ director of rugby Clive Griffiths hit out at his players following their 19-14 home defeat to Nottingham in their final Championship Cup Pool One game.
His post-match comments were as icy as the bitterly-cold wind which had blown down the Castle Park pitch, as he reflected upon a fourth successive defeat which put paid to the club’s hopes of a place in the knock out stages of the competition.
“I’m gutted. I don’t like losing any game, even a friendly,” he said.
“It’s not acceptable and it’s not good enough.
“My pride is hurt because of the lack of reaction from the players, who had trained superbly all week, after I had spoken to them earlier in the week. They played as though we’d never seen a rugby ball yet I know how much work the other coaches are doing.”
Out of the cup and fourth bottom in the league, Griffiths said he would understand it if the board’s patience was starting to run thin and if they were wondering whether someone else could get more out of the players.
“I wouldn’t blame the powers-that-be if they wanted to get rid of me on the evidence of that performance,” he said, whilst making it clear he remains as committed as ever to the cause.
“The players have held their hands up in the dressing room but the buck stops at my desk.”
Having beaten the visitors at Lady Bay, the Welshman had been confident of completing the double over a side without a number of regulars due to injuries and who had to field a number of young players who all did coach Neil Fowkes proud on the day.
But it proved an all too familiar story for Griffiths as once again Knights failed to perform for the full 80 minutes.
“As I have said before during this run you don’t get anything for playing half a game of rugby,” he said.
One of the few things to please Griffiths was the fact that Knights won the second half 7-0 but he was critical of their failure to deliver the knockout punch - despite chances to do so - when they had Nottingham on the ropes in the final quarter after cutting their interval deficit to just five points.
With the club’s cup commitments over Knights’ full focus between now and the end of the season will be the league.
“We are a club in a relegation battle and we’ve got a fortnight to try and turn things around before we play Yorkshire Carnegie down here in our next league game,” said Griffiths, who expects to have the likes of Ollie Stedman and Kurt Morath available.