DONCASTER Knights’ director of rugby Clive Griffiths refuses to under-estimate Richmond insisting the Championship bottom club’s recent turnaround has been miraculous.
Admittedly, they arrive in South Yorkshire today still with just two wins to their name since earning promotion but they have certainly improved of late.
Although the part-timers lost their opening eight league games, they have shown real progress since picking up their first victory, a 17-16 win at London Scottish in mid-November.
Following that, they earned a bonus point pushing promotion-chasing Yorkshire Carnegie close in a 39-31 defeat, then delivered an impressive 26-23 success at Cornish Pirates before almost shocking leaders London Irish on Christmas Eve, losing just 26-20 against the star-studded relegated Premiership side.
Doncaster, last season’s beaten Championship finalists, picked up their first victory in four outings winning at Rotherham Titans on Boxing Day and will hope to swiftly add to that today to finish the year in the top three.
Griffiths said: “It’d be nice but I’m not taking anything for granted with Richmond.
“I don’t know where they’ve come from. I don’t know if they’ve been down to Lourdes in the south of France – they’ve come back from the dead and it’s unbelievable how they’ve turned their game around.
“I’ve been watching them these last few weeks, taking time on them and they’re playing with a lot of enthusiasm and belief.
“We’re delighted to get that Rotherham win before we take them on.”
Furthermore, with London Welsh deducted 20 points following liquidation, Richmond are now just a point behind them in the fight to avoid relegation, incentivising them even more.
Meanwhile, Rotherham head to London Scottish tomorrow with coach Justin Burnell making nine changes which includes four dual-registered players from Northampton Saints and wing/centre Callum Wilson joining the Titans from fellow Championship side Ealing Trailfinders.
Five of the changes come in the pack; Tom Williams, Charlie Maddison, who is returning after an eight-week absence following an ankle injury and Danny Herriott start in the front row.