League Table

P W D L Pts
1 Bedford Blues 0 0 0 0 0
2 Cornish Pirates 0 0 0 0 0
3 Doncaster Knights 0 0 0 0 0
4 Ealing Trailfinders 0 0 0 0 0
5 Jersey Reds 0 0 0 0 0


Rotherham Titans (23) vs Bristol (16) - Championship

Saturday October 6th - KO 3.00pm

Pre-Match Report

Titans go into their weekend clash with Bristol on the back of a 15-3 defeat away to Plymouth Albion last Friday evening. Whilst Bristol will be looking to avoid a third straight Championship defeat, following their 50-31 loss to Leeds at Headingley and last week’s surprise home 21-22 defeat to Moseley.

Therefore, both sides will be eager to get back to winning ways as they chase a season-ending top 4 spot. The clubs have contested 12 league games against each other down the years, with the South West side just edging overall matters 7-5. The clubs did meet in Round 6 of the Powergen Cup in 2002 at the Memorial Ground, where Titans ran out 24-19 winners against the then Premiership outfit.

Titans make 6 changes for Bristol, with one of the changes being positional. Club Captain Garry Law moves to full back from fly half allowing James McKinney to come back in. Peter Homan is the other change in the backs and he returns on the wing for Mike Doneghan.

In the forwards Shane Cahill and Dan Baines return at loose head prop and hooker for Jamie Kilbane and Ted Stagg respectively, whilst Barney Maddison returns after injury and starts in the second row.

Commenting ahead of the much anticipated clash, Andre Bester said, “Bristol are coming into this match on the back of two defeats and that’s makes them very dangerous indeed. They have their experienced players back in and they are a much stronger side because of that. They need to win this match and there’s a difference between wanting to win and needing to win. That makes it a very dangerous scenario for us.

“However, we didn’t do ourselves justice as a group and I include myself in that down at Plymouth. There was contributing factors, but we did not enjoy the feeling down there afterwards. We have worked very hard this week to address the issues that we had down there.

“We are back at Clifton Lane this week, we’re back at home and we strive to have a no excuse environment and there’s no excuse for not going out there and performing.

“We have worked hard this week, harder than any other team can work in this league this past week and on the back of that we must make sure that we don’t let ourselves down on Saturday.”

Titans: 15 Garry Law (Capt.), 14 Eamonn Sheridan, 13 Lee Blackett, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Peter Homan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill, 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ross Davies, 4 Barney Maddison, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Alex Rieder, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Rory Pitman.

Replacements: 16 Ted Stagg, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Mike Doneghan, 21 Mike Whitehead, 22 Joel Gill.

Match Report

Titans know when Bristol visit Clifton Lane they are in for a tough afternoon’s graft and Saturday was no different. Despite the South West outfit suffering a significant number of injuries, they made Rotherham earn every point they picked up.

Indeed it was Bristol who started much the stronger and looked far brighter, with more urgency about their work. It was not surprising then, when after 30 minutes two Matthew Jones penalties gave the visitors a deserved 6-0 advantage in what was shaping into a scrappy affair.

Eventually, Rotherham began to gain some possession and on 35 minutes Garry Law got the hosts on the board with a penalty following Bristol’s indiscretion at a maul. Minute’s later Titans replacement hooker Ted Stagg made his trademark break in the loose to set up a maul close to the Bristol line. This resulted in Alex Rieder snaking round the side to touch down for Titans first try. Law converted and the sides went in at the break with Titans 10-6 to the good.

Rotherham came out far brighter for the second half with their work-rate and intensity notched up a level. Despite this however, Bristol scored next when full back David McIlwaine stepped back inside and took three Titans out of the game to score near the posts. Jones converted as the visitors nudged 13-10 ahead.

Rotherham responded shortly after when Law kicked a fine 45 metre penalty to level things up at 13 apiece. Spurred on now, Titans applied some forward pressure inside the Bristol 22, culminating in Bristol prop Kyle Traynor receiving a yellow card for foul play.

Rotherham opted to take the scrum 5 metres out and following three penalties against Bristol at the set piece, referee John Meredith had little option than to award Rotherham a penalty try. Law converted to put Titans 20-13 up. Five minutes from time Law added another penalty to stretch the home side’s advantage.

Bristol began the frenetic chase to get something out of the game for their endeavours and when Titans infringed at a ruck, Tristan Roberts knocked over his penalty to reduce their arrears to 7 points. Deep into injury time Law had an opportunity to deny them that, but his long range penalty effort drifted just wide, leaving the final score at 23-16 to the South Yorkshire side.

Afterwards Titans Head Coach Andre Bester reflected, “I thought we were clinical, despite having two or three chances in the first half that we butchered. However, I thought we defended very well, they had a few line breaks in the first half and we were up against it a bit. In the second half I thought we gave a very professional performance in closing out the game.

“It was a workmanlike performance from a bunch of guys that care and they’ve worked very hard. They had to get something out of the game, otherwise all the hard work this week would have been for nothing. We worked incredibly hard on our scrum, because we were disappointed with it last week. It’s always satisfying if you put hard work into an area of your game and you reap the rewards on the back of it.

“We conceded the try by switching off for just a split second and that was out of character for us. I thought Bristol defended very well and they proved what we all know and that is, they are a very good side. There’s no doubt in my mind Bristol will be thereabouts at the end of the season; they’ll be in the top 4.”


Attendance: 1060

Referee: John Meredith

Titans: Rieder (T), Penalty Try, Law (3P, 2C).

Bristol: McIlwaine (T), Jones (2P, 1C), Roberts (P).


Titans: 15 Garry Law (Capt.), 14 Eamonn Sheridan, 13 Lee Blackett, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Peter Homan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill (Jamie Kilbane 74), 2 Dan Baines (Ted Stagg 32), 3 Ross Davies, 4 Barney Maddison (Toby Freeman 47), 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Alex Rieder, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Rory Pitman.

Replacements: 16 Ted Stagg, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Mike Doneghan, 21 Mike Whitehead, 22 Joel Gill.

Bristol: 15 David McIlwaine, 14 Mike Tagicakibau, 13 Luke Eves, 12 Bryan Rennie, 11 Ben Mosses, 10 Matthew Jones (Tristan Roberts 71), 9 Ruki Tipuna (James Grindal 68), 1 Kyle Traynor, 2 Tom Channon (Will Tanner 62), 3 Bruce Douglas (Wayne Thompson 62), 4 Mariano Sambucetti, 5 Ben Glynn (Glen Townson 54), 6 Roy Winters, 7 Iain Grieve (Capt.), 8 Mitch Eadie (Mark Lilley 60).

Replacements: 16 Will Tanner, 17 Mark Lilley, 18 Wayne Thompson, 19 Glen Townson, 20 Steve Uren, 21 James Grindal, 22 Tristan Roberts.