Doncaster intent on continuing impressive opening

Doncaster Knights coach Clive Griffiths
Doncaster Knights coach Clive Griffiths
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Pre-season relegation favourites Doncaster Knights can take a step closer to the top four today when they host struggling Moseley.

The Midlanders have managed just one win from their opening six games and occupy second bottom in the Championship, a position many external pundits expected the Knights to inhabit at this juncture of the season.

However, Clive Griffiths has assembled a squad good enough to win three of their first five games and then ruffle the feathers of Bristol in atrocious conditions last Friday night.

Doncaster sit just below halfway, four points behind their Yorkshire rivals Rotherham Titans in fourth place.

But there is no resting on laurels at Castle Park. They know how quickly fortunes can change, having looked solid in this league for many a year before slipping out of it in 2012-13.

Having worked hard to get back to the second tier, Doncaster appreciate they need to double that effort to maintain their impressive start – continuing today against Moseley.

“I saw Moseley last week and they did a job on Scottish,” said the Knights’ director of rugby Griffiths, who witnessed Mose’s shock win over heavily-resourced London Scottish.

“Whether it was complacency from Scottish or they weren’t at the races I don’t know, but Moseley matched them in every department.

“They out-fought them and they out-thought them.

“We know how they tough they are. We’ll be taking nothing for granted.”

Doncaster will be especially keen to get over their defeat to Cornish Pirates in their last home league game six weeks ago, a result that could in the long run prove a turning point for the Knights.

So chastened were they by the defeat that they went and won all three British and Irish Cup games, before falling only 24-12 in the torrential rain at Bristol.

“We pressed the self-destruct button that day against Pirates, that’s for sure,” added Griffiths.

“We have put that behind us though since then.

“It was a really good performance at Bristol and I said from the outset that we would be taking the B&I cup seriously.

“You have to because there’s some good teams in it from our league and then the strong Irish provinces.

“It helped us keep the edge after the Pirates defeat. It helped us build back into the league competition.”

Rhys Williams, a centre on a dual-registration deal from Leicester Tigers, starts for Doncaster today, while Griffiths has made three changes in the pack, including the return of Canada international Tyler Hotson into the second row.