Doncaster RLFC: New head coach Richard Horne outlines areas for improvement ahead of Whitehaven trip

New Dons head coach Richard Horne takes charge of his first game at Whitehaven on Sunday.
New Dons head coach Richard Horne takes charge of his first game at Whitehaven on Sunday.

Doncaster RLFC's new head coach Richard Horne could hardly have been handed a more testing start to life in League One than a trip to second-placed Whitehaven on Sunday.

However, the prospect is not fazing him.

“I know it's going to be tough but it's a game that I'm looking forward to and so are the players,” said the former Hull FC star.

The fifth-placed Dons were without a game at the weekend giving Horne, who has been pleased with reception he has received from the players, more time to get to know the squad and introduce a couple of new ideas.

“Due to the club’s dual-registration arrangement with Hull, I’ve watched a few games and we’ve also had a few Doncaster players play in Hull’s reserve side which I coach, so that has helped,” he said.

Horne says he has identified a couple of areas he is keen to tidy up.

“I thought we allowed Barrow too much time to get on the front foot at the ruck in our last game,” he said.

“That is something that we have worked on in training in the last ten days or so

“If you can slow your opponents down in the arm-wrestle it gives you a better chance of winning games.

“But I’ve come in too late in the season to start making massive changes.

“To get the team playing in a style I want them to play would probably take a full pre-season.

“What I will be doing is working on things which suit the players at the club and that they are happy with.”

Having spent all his career playing in the top flight it would seem to follow that Horne has similar ambitions as a coach.

But the 35 year-old is not looking that far ahead.

“I’m not thinking about what might happen in the future,” he said.

“I’m just focused on Doncaster and helping them get as far as I can."

Horne is well aware that the club have set themselves the target of Super League rugby in five years,

“Getting back to the Championship is the big goal for this season and if we were to do that then the immediate aim would be consolidation and who knows after that?" he said.

“But any hope of challenging for Super League would obviously depend on investment because you can’t challenge for the top flight on a low budget.”