Doncaster Knights: Griffiths’ lukewarm response to Leeds plans

Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths. Picture: Steve Uttley
Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths. Picture: Steve Uttley

Clive Griffiths has cast doubt over Sir Ian McGeechan’s formative plans to unite Yorkshire under one rugby union banner – and insists Doncaster Knights can stand on their own two feet.

McGeechan, the Leeds Carnegie chairman and former British Lions coach, this week announced intentions to change the club’s name to Yorkshire Carnegie next season as part of a plan to become a Premiership powerhouse.

But Griffiths, whose Knights side are in pole position for promotion back to the Championship with their current position as league leaders in SSE National League One, believes the idea does not take into consideration the strength of other clubs.

“I’m sure Ian put a great deal of thought into the proposal and it’s not something he has taken lightly, but obviously I’ve seen this type of idea before in the Rugby League when it was proposed across south Yorkshire,” said Doncaster’s director of rugby.

“It depends where they end up – do they go straight into the Premiership? Will they be well funded?

“But Doncaster have been one of the success stories in Yorkshire with a number of promotions, from the Yorkshire League to the National Leagues.

“The club are very fortunate that we have some fantastic benefactors who pump their heart and soul into the club, some are ex-players and have been there for years.

“We just have to make the best of our resources and get back into the Championship – this new development is only in our periphery.

“It’s all a bit pie in the sky at the moment,” added Griffiths.

“There’ll be vociferous voices against this from Harrogate, to Halifax, to Huddersfield – the attitude from some parts will be ‘over my dead body’.”

Despite this week’s news, it is business as usual for Griffiths’ men as they prepare for a visit to Tynedale tomorrow.

The last time the two met Knights emerged victorious 55-3 but with their opponents having experienced an up turn in fortunes since the turn of the year to boost their own survival hopes, Griffiths knows his side cannot afford an off day.

“Tynedale are unrecognisable from when they were at Castle Park earlier in the season,” he said.

“We know it’s going to be a dogfight and that we must keep up our winning trend.

“We have great respect for the coaches up there and the way they dig in, it’s going to be a really tough encounter up there for sure and they’ll be fired up.”

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