Doncaster Knights: Clive Griffiths reflects on Sale Sharks defeat and looks ahead to Sale FC clash

Mat Clark impressed in the friendly defeat at Sale Sharks.
Mat Clark impressed in the friendly defeat at Sale Sharks.

Doncaster Knights boss Clive Griffiths felt the scoreline at Sale Sharks did not do his side justice on the night.

The Premiership side, who included 11 internationals in their squad including new signing Chris Ashton, ran out 31-0 winners in both clubs’ opening friendly on Friday night.

Despite seeing the Sharks put five tries past his side, Griffiths was generally happy with the club’s defensive display.

“It was only 5-0 until the stroke of half time and we had the chance to make it 12-5 with the conversion to come prior to them scoring at the other end in the blink of an eye,” said Griffiths.

“They were very clinical on the night as you would expect of a side with world class players.

“When they got a turnover at the breakdown they were away. The good thing is that we are not going to come up against the quality forwards they have and likes of Ashton, Denny Solomona and AJ MacGinty in the backs in the Championship.

“Although it was disappointing not to score on the night we could have had a couple of tries and there were things that we’ve been working on over the last eight weeks - things that some people might not have noticed – that we were pleased with and that we can build on this week.

“Obviously there is a lot to work on – particularly the lineouts – before the start of the season and we’ll be doing that.”

Knights’ cause wasn’t helped when fly-half Charlie Foley picked up an early knock, although he played on before being replaced by young Seth Adams, one of three Academy players to get a run out.

His half-back partner Tom James was one of the players to catch Griffiths’ eye as did new signing Willie Ryan, who packed down at No 8.

“Willie didn’t play a lot of rugby for Ealing last year until the back end of the season due to injury,” he said.

“But he did a lot of good work around the back of the scrum and was good going forward.”

Another man to impress Griffiths was centre Mat Clark.

“He’s had a truncated career with the Knights due to injuries but I thought he looked really strong and shrugged people off and he looked like the Clarkie of old,” said Griffiths.

Knights take on Sale FC, the Premiership club’s second side, at Castle Park on Saturday.

“They will be playing in National One this season after winning promotion and their aim is to make it to the Championship,” said Griffiths.

“They have players who have played at a higher level and at county level and they are a well-rounded team who are well coached and it will be a tough test for us.”

Fijian international scrum-half Henry Seniloli, who was not considered for the game at Heywood Road, is set to feature for the Knights.