‘We should have won by more’ says Doncaster Knights’ chief after 20-19 win over Coventry

Clive Griffiths
Clive Griffiths

Doncaster Knights got their Championship Cup campaign off to a winning start when beating Coventry 20-19 at Castle Park.  

Director of rugby Clive Griffiths felt that Knights deserved to take the spoils but argued they were made to work harder than should have been the case.

“I thought that we were full value for the win but I thought that we should have won by more,” said the Welshman.

“We had all the play in the first half but we couldn’t put the game to bed and that’s what happens when you don’t take your chances.”

One of the main talking points of the first half, which ended with Knights leading 13-5, concerned speedy wing Curtis Wilson’s decision use his support rather than back himself against former team-mate Andy Bulumakau – who had come from the opposite flank - after breaking from deep inside his own half.

“Curtis couldn’t do anything wrong in our last game at London Scottish when defending well and scoring three tries, but he possibly made the wrong decision on Saturday,” Griffiths. “I think he should have backed himself and gone for the line. He’s got a good fend on him so Andy might not have made the tackle.

Coventry came more into the game after the break and impressed Griffiths on occasions.

“You could tell that they had spent a lot of money on players (since being promoted from National One last season) especially when they opened out,” he said. “They had some very dangerous runners.

“Having said that it was disappointing to concede three tries again and Phil (interim defence coach Phil Larder) won’t be happy with that.

“I was also really angry will our ill-discipline on occasions and three times players spoke back to the referee and gave the opposition a ‘get out of jail card’ or a penalty and they’ll be fined for that.

“I wasn’t that concerned when they got it back to 13-12 around the hour mark because I felt that if we got a good foothold (in and around their 22) that we’d score and we did that through young back-rower Ciaran Booth, who is so strong, and it turned out to be the match-winner.

“We had control at 20-12 and we should have gone on to claim a bonus point win instead we contrived to shoot ourselves in the foot and we could have lost it at the end.”

The game saw the long-awaited return of centre Will Owen, the return of full-back Paul Jarvis after several weeks on the sidelines with a calf injury, and the debut of new dual-registered No 8 Rory Pitman, and all three caught Griffiths’ eye.