Doncaster Knights: Why Super League pacesetters Castleford Tigers have made Clive Griffiths sit up and take notice
By general consensus Castleford Tigers, who have scored a number of spectacular tries, have been the stars of the opening month of rugby league's Super League.
Given his rugby league background, and his desire to continually improve as a coach, Doncaster Knights team boss Clive Griffiths has been taking a keen interest in 'Classy Cas’.
“There is so much traffic for defenders to cope with the way they move the ball and utilise dummy runners,” he said this week.
“I’ve been looking if we can learn anything from what they are doing and incorporate it into our game and we’ve done that.
“What I’ve been particularly interested in is the moves they put on from the play-the-ball on the line because that replicates a ruck close to the line in union.
“We’ve got those plays but what you ask yourself is ‘what can we learn from what they do and can we do things differently?’"
Yorkshire’s top two rugby union teams go into Sunday's game at Castle Park in contrasting form.
Whereas Knights have lost just once in the league in three months Carnegie have lost their last three league games and also tasted defeat in last weekend’s B&I Cup quarter-final at London Irish.
Although on paper it would appear to be a good time for Knights to take on Carnegie, Griffiths isn’t letting their recent record lull him into a false sense of security.
“Jersey isn’t an easy place to go on a Friday night and they gave away two interception tries against Cornish Pirates at home and Irish are unbeaten this season,” he said.
“So I’m not reading too much into those results.”
Griffiths is expecting the two sides to serve up an entertaining game for what is likely to be the biggest gate of the season despite the game being shown live on Sky Sports.
“They like to play an expansive game and they’ve scored seven more tries than we have this season and only London Irish have scored more, so they’ll obviously be a threat in attack,” he said.
“But whereas we’ve conceded fewer tries (36) than anyone, they’ve let in 54 so they’ve got defensive weaknesses that we’ll be looking to exploit.”
Even though Griffiths still feels that Knights can pip Carnegie for second spot he would settle for retaining third place.
“If we exchanged places we’d still end up playing each other over two legs in the semi-finals so there’s no advantage,” he said.
“I’m more concerned with finishing in the top four because Ealing are going well and Pirates and Jersey – who did us a favour beating Pirates last time out – are also in the frame so we can’t afford to drop points.”