Knights in search for new coach as Howells bows out

DONCASTER Knights are searching for a new director of rugby after Lynn Howells informed the club he would not be continuing beyond the conclusion of his contract at the end of this season.

Welshman Howells is currently three-and-a-half years into a four-year contract at Castle Park and has elected to leave in the summer to pursue other avenues of his career.

The Knights have begun advertising the top job in the rugby press with Howells offering his assistance in finding the next man to progress the club.

"The stand is there and the infrastrusture is in place for this club to move on," said Howells, whose assistant, Brett Davey, is an early front-runner for the job.

"It may take another two or three years before they can do that but the club is in a strong position. My departure from the club is amicable. I informed the club at the start of the season. I just feel they need fresh impetus and ideas to help them push on."

Doncaster have steadily gone backwards in Howells's time at the club, from the cusp of the Premiership promotion race in 2007-08 when they finished fourth, to the middle of the pack last season when they only just sneaked into the promotion play-offs after finishing seventh.

That run has coincided with the tightening of the second tier and the competition's move towards a more professional environment.

Doncaster do not have the means to compete on those terms following a tightening of the purse strings at Castle Park last close-season that led the Knights away from full-time rugby.

Despite fewer hours with his playing staff, however, Howells has this season overseen an upturn in fortunes, with Doncaster lying fifth in the table.

The former Wales assistant coach – who takes his team to Birmingham and Solihull tomorrow – is respected in the game for his recruitment and development of young players and says he is open to any role he can find, be it a job back in his homeland or a position on the coaching staff of a Premiership club.

"I'm pretty open-minded about what I do next," said Howells.

"I'm still excited about the game and I'm not pigeon-holing myself as a director or rugby."

Rotherham Titans are seeking a first win in the Championship for two months when they host high-flying Cornish Pirates today.

A period of inactivity due to the weather, twinned with three league defeats in a row, has jeopardised Rotherham's position in the top eight.

Andre Bester's men remain seventh with games in hand, but wins for Plymouth and Bristol this weekend, allied with another loss for the Titans would see them dive into the play-off drop zone.