Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths says he knows exactly what his troops need to do if they are to improve on last season’s topsy-turvy Greene King IPA Championship campaign.
The Knights enjoyed some solid early-season form after picking up three wins from their opening four matches – the only defeat coming against eventual champions Worcester Warriors.
However, nine defeats were to follow as the Knights eventually finished the season in ninth with eight victories and a draw from their 22 clashes.
And while survival remains the top priority for Griffiths’ team, the Welshman is also keen to see improvements and hopes they can climb higher in the table in the process.
“The number one goal was to maintain Championship status without any doubt and we did that with a bit to spare,” said Griffiths.
“There were games which we lost in the last few seconds and that’s down to game management and discipline.
“We know where we went wrong and now we have to put it right this year.
“We weren’t tactically astute in some games; a couple of teams came here and kicked the ball high and long to us and we didn’t deal with that tactically enough.
“Our main goal has to be to stay in the division but, beyond that, to get higher than we did last season would be the next goal and then to get up to the high end of the table.”
There will be plenty of new faces lining up for the Knights when they start the season with the visit of London Welsh.
Ted Stagg, Jim Wigglesworth, Joe Sproston, Simon Humberstone and Michael Heaney are among the newcomers at Castle Park and Griffiths says he is relishing the competition for places this time around.
“We had a number of injuries last season and we went into seven games with just three props,” he added.
“I won’t single out any individual but the new boys are all impressive in their own way and they have come into a new team and a new environment.
“We are only in our second week of pre season but already there is a gel amongst the guys and they are working hard.
“They have all impressed me in their own shape and form as have the existing players. The competition for places is important and you need to bring in guys who will push the existing players into working hard for the place.
“There is extra competitiveness in training and there good spirit and a bit of banter but they do get down to business.”
Formed in 2009, the Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby union in England.
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