Griffiths’s future not issue as Knights insist ‘we don’t panic’

Doncaster Knights have backed director of rugby Clive Griffiths despite their wretched run in the Championship.

Doncaster Knights coach Clive Griffiths directs operations from high.  (Picture: Malcolm Billingham)
Doncaster Knights coach Clive Griffiths directs operations from high. (Picture: Malcolm Billingham)

Saturday’s defeat to fellow strugglers Jersey extended their winless sequence to eight games.

They have not won in the league since the end of September, when an opening burst of three wins in four games gave the club hope that they would not spend the season in a relegation scrap.

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But that is exactly where they find themselves after the 26-19 defeat to Jersey, when the gain of a losing bonus point at least kept them eight points clear of bottom-markers Plymouth Albion in the only relegation place.

Plymouth have looked dead and buried for much of the season, but a recent revival, including a first win of the season 10 days ago, has added to the pressure surrounding Doncaster.

Griffiths was unable to save the club from relegation two years ago when he was parachuted in midway through the season.

But last year he orchestrated an immediate return to the Championship from an increasingly competitive National One.

Being dragged back down into the tier below is understood to have raised fears in South Yorkshire.

But David Ryall, the club’s chief executive, yesterday moved to allay any doubts over Griffiths’s

“I’ve been with Clive this morning and it’s no different to last Monday,” said Ryall of the 60-year-old Welshman who is in his second spell in charge.

“There’s no issue with Clive Griffiths. The status quo has not changed. We are not where we would have liked to have been, ideally, but we’re only halfway through the season.

“There’s no panic. We don’t panic at this club.”

Doncaster host Munster A in the British and Irish Cup quarter-final on Saturday. Their form in that competition contrasts sharply with their results in the league, with the Knights having won all six of their pool games.

Doncaster will be represented alongside Yorkshire Carnegie and Rotherham Titans at the latest meeting of the league’s management at Headingley tonight. Continuing discussions on an increase to central funding received from the RFU is on the agenda.

England lock Courtney Lawes has been ruled out of the opening few weeks of the Six Nations due to an ankle injury sustained for Northampton on Sunday.