DESPITE seeing his side lose all six of their Championship Promotion Play-off Pool A games, Doncaster Knights boss Brett Davey stood by his players following their 39-10 defeat at favourites Bristol at the weekend.
“The players have been a credit to the club all season,” said the Welshman. “Obviously I’m disappointed with how things went in the Play-offs. But what we’ve got to remember is that for most of the season we were very competitive.
“I don’t think it helped having to play four games in nine days at the end of the league season.”
The Bristol game marked the last appearance, at least in the immediate future, of over a dozen Doncaster players.
Said Davey: “Some of the players are leaving because they’ve got better financial offers from other clubs while others are leaving and joining other clubs because they see it as a step forward. There are also a couple of players that we feel we need to replace.”
Davey makes no secret of the fact that he would like to have kept a number of the players who are set for pastures new next season, but adds: “The fact is that we can’t compete salary-wise with most of the sides in our league at the moment and we are not going to jeopardise our future by over spending on players.
“We’ve got to take it on the chin at the moment because everyone is going through a tough time (financially). But we will start to move forward again next season and every season after that and our aim remains Premiership rugby, which I still think is achievable.”
Davey has been busy recruiting players for next season in recent weeks and will shortly start to release names of new signings.
Although he is keeping the identity of the players under wraps Davey predicted: “I’m pretty confident that we’ll have a stronger side next season because of the recruitment.
“I think that people will be surprised at some of the players we’ve signed and are looking to bring in.
“We’ve also got players from the current squad who are progressing and who have benefitted from the season just ended and who will only get better.
“One thing Kendo (forwards’ coach Glen Kenworthy) and myself agreed on is that we didn’t feel that we were big enough as a team and that is something we’ve tried to address in the players we have both brought in and are looking to bring in.
“We want to continue to play an attractive brand of rugby next season but we also want to play winning rugby.”