Doncaster Knights boss Clive Griffiths has not allowed himself to be lulled into a false sense of security ahead of tomorrow’s Championship clash against Yorkshire Carnegie at Headingley (3pm).
The Leeds-based club were beaten finalists last season but few people in the game expect them to prove the main challenge to promotion favourites Bristol this time around having lost several key figures and admitting that they are operating on a reduced budget.
But Griffiths still expects tomorrow’s rivals to be challenging for a top-four spot.
“They may have lost players such as Ryan Burrows and Joe Ford, but they’ve still got enough good players on their books,” he said. “I suppose the biggest question mark against Carnegie at this moment in time is whether they’ve got the strength in depth.”
He added: “They’ve been up there (in the top four) with us in recent years and we know what they are going to bring to the table.”
Former rugby league star James Lowes has taken over the reins during the summer and Griffiths expect Carnegie to play a more expansive game.
“They may have lost a couple but they’ve still got some good backs. I rate full-back Chris Elder as one of the best players in this division and I’m sure that Jimmy will be to looking to use him,” he said.
“But, equally, they will know the threat our back division will pose.
“We lost there last season, but we’ve won there on several occasions in recent years so going to Headingley holds no fears for us.
“We are also going there on the back of successive wins and in the top four after picking up nine points out of a possible ten and having scored 70 points.
“I’m obviously pleased with the start we’ve made but it’s too early to start making predictions. We’ll have a better idea at the end of what is a very tough month.”
Meanwhile, Knights have boosted their back three options with the signing of former Ealing Trailfinders wing Curtis Wilson.
The 25-year-old spent the early part of the season with Sheffield Tigers after a short stint with Championship rugby league side Sheffield Eagles and provides cover out wide following the injuries to Paul Jarvis and Dougie Flockhart.
The Sheffielder spent last season at Ealing Trailfinders and finished the season as the club’s leading try-scorer with 11 tries in all competitions.