Ambitious Griffiths has one eye on Cup as Pirates visit

Doncaster Knights' head coach Clive Griffiths.
Doncaster Knights' head coach Clive Griffiths.
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DONCASTER KNIGHTS director of rugby Clive Griffiths has declared the club will make a concerted effort to win the British & Irish Cup this term.

They did not play in the oft-maligned competition last season having been relegated to National One.

However, having made such an excellent start to life back in the Championship – Doncaster seek a fourth win from five league outings when Cornish Pirates arrive this afternoon – Griffiths believes they can bring some silverware to Castle Park.

“We want to have a good crack at the B&I this year,” he said, Leinster A having defeated Leeds Carnegie to take the title in 2013-14. “It is a different set of circumstances to the last time I was involved in the competition.

“I feel we have a big enough squad, especially with the help of dual-registered players from Leicester Tigers, to compete on two fronts whilst still rotating a few players, we are in it and going to take a shot at winning it.

“The first round of fixtures has been good to us, in that two of the three games are at home.”

Doncaster’s first Cup game sees them visit Welsh club Cross Keys in a week’s time before hosting Cornish – again – in a fortnight and Bedford on October 25.

Griffiths said: “We know Cross Keys will be a very tough trip; they like this comp’ and will be very strong on their own patch.

“But if we can get something down there with two home games on the back of that, who knows? We’ll see how the opening three rounds go before the long away trips to Bedford and Penzance finishing with Cross Keys at home just before Christmas. It will be tough, but it’s a competition that I believe we are good enough to qualify in and then reassess in the New Year.”

Griffiths has made just two changes to the side that won 32-23 at Yorkshire Carnegie on Sunday, Richard List and Tyler Hotson returning to the starting XV with Tom Davies and Jon Phelan dropping to the bench.

“It is a huge game and its important for us to maintain our good start building on that win,” he added.

Carnegie head coach Gary Mercer has rung the changes after that loss, making nine alterations for tomorrow’s trip to Nottingham. Jonah Holmes, such a revelation last season after joining on loan from Wasps, returns for his second stint and comes straight in at full-back.

Centre Rob Vickerman returns for Jon Clarke and David Doherty is back on the wing after illness, in place of Christian Georgiou.

Up front, only captain Ryan Burrows and Leeds Beckett University student Liam Edwards retain their place.

Hooker Joe Graham comes in for the suspended Phil Nilsen with props James Tideswell and Ben Harris both recalled.

Lock Chris Jones returns after his late withdrawal before the Doncaster game, youngster Josh Bainbridge is promoted to the starting line-up after impressing from the bench on debut last week and blindside Mike Myerscough starts his first game of the season.