CLIVE Griffiths will take charge of his first game since making a surprise return to Castle Park on Monday, in Doncaster Knights’ testing Championship clash against Nottingham at Meadow Lane on Sunday.
Griffiths. who fills the new post of Director of Professional Rugby, left the South Yorkshire club at the end of the 2006-07 season to become the No 2 at Premiership Worcester, after steering Knights to third place in National One (now known as the Championship).
He returns to Castle Park to find the ambitious club propping up the table with just one win and a draw to their name.
“Having worked at the club before, hopefully I can make a difference and the current coaching staff will benefit from my experience,” he said speaking exclusively to The Star.
“Morally I felt bad about leaving at the time because the club had finished in its highest-ever position in the league but professionally I couldn’t turn down the chance to coach in the Premiership and work with Mike Ruddock again,” he said.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to go back to the club and try and improve their fortunes this season.
“I was pleased with what I’ve seen so far and there is something to work on. That was shown in the last game against (third-placed) Bedford when they should have won the game leading 21-10 in the final quarter only to lose to the last kick of the game. I thought that they were hard done by to be honest.
“I’ve been looking at other footage and it’s not the only game that the club could have won. But we are in a battle and everyone has to roll their sleeves up because it is a difficult situation for us all.”
Although Griffiths has quit his part-time coaching role at Sedgley Park RFC, he hopes to be able to continue to coach Championship One rugby league side North Wales Crusaders, where he did such a good job with limited resources in their debut season.
“Obviously there will be a bit of travelling involved and if I find it too much doing both jobs then I will have to choose one way or another at the end of the (Championship) season,” he said. “But the Crusaders is only part-time and Doncaster Knights is full-time.
“All I am focusing on at the moment is trying to get the club off the bottom of the table.
Griffiths hadn’t spoken to director of rugby Brett Davey prior to talking to The Star, and said that he appreciated that his fellow Welshman would need time to ‘digest the situation’ but he was hopeful that he would remain on board.
“I coached Brett and (head coach) Glen Kenworthy and I know their pedigree and I’ve the upmost respect for both of them,” he said. “I’m sure that we can work well together.”