Returning hero Griffiths confident of Doncaster Knights’ survival

BACK IN THE SADDLE: Clive Griffiths is back at Castle Park for a second spell, aiming to steer the Knights away from trouble.
BACK IN THE SADDLE: Clive Griffiths is back at Castle Park for a second spell, aiming to steer the Knights away from trouble.

RETURNING coach Clive Griffiths is confident he can keep Doncaster Knights in the Championship.

The Welshman made a shock return to Castle Park on Monday in the role of director of professional rugby, putting him at the summit of the club’s coaching hierarchy.

Griffiths’ task is simple – ensure the Knights survive in the Championship this season.

And the message he gave in response to that was equally matter of fact – ‘the only way is up.’

He said: “From what I’ve seen so far there’s no reason why this team shouldn’t be climbing up the table.

“It’s my job to help them get off the bottom and stay in this division and I’m very confident that I’ll be able to do that.

“Once we get a few bodies out of the physio’s room and onto the training ground it will only be a matter of time before we’re heading in the right direction.

“I was in a very similar situation to this at Worcester.

“We were languishing at the bottom of the table before Christmas and losing games by the odd points like Doncaster did against Bedford.

“But then we beat Sale, Gloucester and Leicester and went flying up the table.

“We’ll identify any problems quickly and work on them.”

Griffiths was the Knights’ director of rugby for the 2006/07 season and led them to their then highest ever position of third in National One.

He left to take charge of Worcester and has since coached North Wales, Sedgley Park and North Wales Crusaders RLFC who he will continue to work with in a part time role.

His return to Castle Park happened quickly and he had no hesitation in coming back.

“It didn’t take long for me to make my mind up,” he said.

“It all happened very quickly. I was only at Castle Park the other week talking about a few players for Sedgley and nothing was mentioned then.

“The next thing I know, I’m driving back up to Armthorpe.

“It’s a great club and it will be an absolute pleasure to try and bring the good times back.”

Griffiths’ time at Castle Park this week has been limited due to his coaching role with the Canada national team who will take on the Maori All Blacks on Saturday.

He met with the players for the first time on Monday and also had the opportunity to review some of the recent performances.

Griffiths said: “From the short amount of time I’ve had with the lads I can tell they’re a very committed and determined bunch.

“They seem as keen as I do to get this club off the bottom of the table.

“Of course, you’d expect players to have that extra spring in their step when they meet the new coach but I think that response will stay.

“The two Ds, defence and discipline, are my main priority.

“Sort them out and we’ll be going in the right direction.”

It is understood that Griffiths will have the final say on team matters with current director of rugby Brett Davey and coaches Glen Kenworthy, Tom Luke and Dougie Flockhart remaining in place.

But the 58-year-old said the full details had not been finalised.

He said: “We have got a lot to talk about and it would not be fair to talk about things like that right now.

“I have got a lot of ideas and I’m sure Brett and the rest of the coaches will have plenty of suggestions.

“I’m here to add some experience.

“The basic fact is that we need to start winning rugby matches.”