Fighting spirit key to Doncaster’s season, says Griffiths

Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths.
Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths.
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VICTORIOUS Doncaster Knights coach Clive Griffths hailed his side’s never-say-die attitude after the promoted side triumphed 
32-23 at 14-man Yorkshire Carnegie.

The derby victory sees the National One champions rise up to fifth in the Championship ahead of Saturday’s visit from struggling Cornish Pirates.

Carnegie had hooker Phil Nilsen sent-off for a dangerous tackle just before half-time.

But Griffiths – who did not see that incident – said: “To come to Headingley and win – it doesn’t matter if you have 14 or 10 – to get a victory with a bonus point is really exciting for us.

“I’m so proud of the effort. We didn’t quite believe versus Worcester and let them off the hook last week so this week was huge. We had an extra day to prepare and analyse Leeds (Yorkshire) and overall I’m pleased the structures put in place nullified them.

“What the team does is ooze never-say-die spirit. We had to show that for 30 cup finals in National One last year and that was a horrendous journey.

“But you can draw upon that in tighter moments now like at the end there when they lost the ball going over the line as someone put his body on the line.

“He didn’t have to do – we’d have still won the game 32-30 – but it’s little things like that that mean a lot.

“We rode our luck at times but we never gave in.”

Yorkshire coach Gary Mercer was furious with his side who also missed out on a bonus point after ignoring a kickable penalty before the incident Griffiths referred to.

“I’m really disappointed,” he said. “It was inevitable it was going to happen and I’m just glad it happened early in the season.

“I know where we are now as a group and the players know what I’m about. It’s a tough one to take, especially at home.

“We’ve lost a man early with a red card and in the previous game we had a sending-off and two yellows, so ill-discipline is killing us at the moment.

“I’ve had a quick look at the red card and it’s annoying. It’s something we have to sort out.

“And there were a couple of schoolboy errors in the second half that I actually thought cost us the match.”