League Table

P W D L Pts
1 Bristol 7 7 0 0 32
2 Worcester Warriors 7 6 0 1 30
3 London Scottish 7 5 0 2 26
4 Rotherham Titans 7 5 0 2 22
5 Nottingham 7 4 0 3 18

Fixtures

Rotherham Titans (13) vs Leeds (24) - Championship

Saturday November 24th - KO 2.00pm

Pre-Match Report

Titans make 5 changes to the starting 15 that disappointingly lost last time out against Cornish Pirates. Returning to the side following injury are the Irish pair of Eamonn Sheridan and James McKinney. Sheridan starts at outside centre, whilst McKinney will steer the ship in the number 10 jersey, meaning club captain Garry Law moves across to inside centre.

The 3 changes in the pack all come in the front row with Marshall Gadd, Ted Stagg and Gareth Denman all getting the nod.

Titans acting Head Coach Lee Blackett said ahead of the clash, “It’s a derby game, it’s Leeds and I think it’s special to a few of our players who have played up there before, including me. The game is also very special for the supporters, but more importantly it’s a game that we need to win as we can’t allow ourselves to slip too far behind the top four.

“Our ambition is to finish in the top four and to do that we have to win this game. We’ve had a massive focus this week on Leeds; we’ve looked very closely and reviewed them in great detail.  They are a team that’s in tremendous form and only Newcastle are in better form right now and we know we are in for a massive challenge.

“Despite still having major issues injury wise, our preparations have been good and hopefully we are close to making a couple of signings next week to strengthen the squad. We are unbeaten at home this year and I always feel confident at Clifton Lane of beating any side.”

 

Titans: 15 Fergus Mulchrone, 14 Peter Homan, 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 Garry Law (Capt.), 11 Mike Doneghan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 Marshall Gadd, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Alex Rieder, 7 Joe Ellyatt, 8 Carl Kirwan.

Replacements: 16 Jamie Kilbane, 17 Shane Cahill, 18 Ross Davies, 19 Nile Dacres, 20 Ed Taylor, 21 Pale Nonu, 22 Joel Gill.

Match Report

On a dismal, dreary and wet afternoon at Clifton Lane, Rotherham Titans and Leeds Carnegie put on a performance full of commitment and endeavour, with neither side willing to give an inch.

Inside a tight first 10 minutes a Garry Law penalty was sandwiched by two from Carnegie fly half Joe Ford. However, a minute later Rotherham lost the ball on the edge of their 22 and Leeds reacted quickly. James Doherty provided quick ball along the line, culminating with Oli Goss just dibbing down in the far right corner under pressure.

Titans responded well and created some pressure of their own which resulted in Sheridan being held up over the Leeds line. A series of 5 metre scrums followed for the hosts, but frustratingly they lost the ball and Leeds cleared the danger. A minute either side of the half hour mark Joe Ford and Garry Law traded penalties leaving the titans trailing by just 8 points.

On 32 minutes Joel Gill collected a high ball inside the Titans 22 and proceeded to make a dazzling 50 metre break up-field forcing Leeds onto the back foot. The resulting pressure forced Leeds into giving away a penalty after they prevented Titans quick ball at the ruck. Unfortunately for the hosts, Garry Law’s 40 metre effort drifted just wide of the sticks.

Into first half injury time and disaster struck for the home side. From a Leeds scrum 15 metres from the Rotherham line, former Titan Ryan Burrows collected from the base and ran in all too easily to touch down under the posts. Ford converted to send the visitors in at the break with a flattering 21-6 advantage.

Spurred on by Burrows try, Leeds started the second period much the brighter and they exerted heavy pressure on the home defence for the thick end of 20 minutes. Huge credit must be given to the Titans defence however, as time and again they put their bodies on the line to protect their line. In fact Leeds only reward for their dominance was a Ford penalty on 55 minutes.

Into the final quarter and Rotherham upped their intensity and looked dangerous once again. Titans pack appeared to now have the edge at scrum time and they regularly breached the gain line. Ten minutes from time James McKinney chipped a cross field kick which Eamonn Sheridan collected magnificently and then shrugged of a Leeds defender to score a fine try. Law converted to reduce the Titans arrears to 13-24.

Rotherham pressed on in search of a losing bonus point, but despite their heroic endeavours, the visitors managed to hold them out and in doing so collect the Yorkshire bragging rights.

Titans acting Head Coach Lee Blackett reflected post match by saying, “We are hugely disappointed to lose the game, there were certain aspects of our game that were very good today and then on other occasions we let ourselves down badly. I think in the first half we were very unlucky to go in 21-6 down.

“There were a couple of crucial moments for us that made a huge difference. Not scoring when we drove them over and then had the 5 metre scrums and also conceding two very sloppy tries just wasn’t acceptable, particularly the try on half time where we fell off the tackle and he just waltzed in for the try. The systems are in place, but it was individual errors that cost us today.

“I thought our intensity at times was very good today and certainly much improved on where we’ve been recently. That’s probably the hardest thing to take from the game; we’ve come away with nothing but our effort and intensity deserved some kind of reward.

“We know we can compete with the top sides and we believe we are good enough to be a top four side ourselves. But we’ve got to move on now and concentrate on the Moseley game and we must improve our away form if our ambitions are to be realised. I know if we have the same intensity next week and stop making those silly individual errors, then we can get back on track very quickly.”

 

Attendance: 1489

Referee: Darren Gamage

Yellow Card: Goss 78.

Titans: Sheridan (T), Law (2P, 1C).

Leeds: Goss (T), Burrows (T), Ford (4P, 1C).

Titans: 15 Fergus Mulchrone, 14 Peter Homan (Joel Gill 18), 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 Garry Law (Capt.), 11 Mike Doneghan (Pale Nonu 60), 10 James McKinney, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 Marshall Gadd (Shane Cahill 47) (Jamie Kilbane 55), 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Gareth Denman (Ross Davies 52), 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Alex Rieder, 7 Joe Ellyatt, 8 Carl Kirwan.

Replacements: 16 Jamie Kilbane, 17 Shane Cahill, 18 Ross Davies, 19 Nile Dacres, 20 Ed Taylor, 21 Pale Nonu, 22 Joel Gill.

Leeds: 15 Stevie McColl, 14 Oli Goss, 13 Josh Griffin, 12 Fred Burdon, 11 David Doherty, 10 Joe Ford, 9 James Doherty (Craig Hampson 67), 1 Sam Lockwood, 2 Phil Nilsen, 3 Damien Tussac (Ben Hooper 67), 4 Calum Green, 5 Dan Hemingway (Matt Smith 14), 6 Richard Beck (Rob Baldwin 37), 7 Jacob Rowan (Capt.), 8 Ryan Burrows.

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Lee Imiolek, 18 Ben Hooper, 19 Matt Smith, 20 Rob Baldwin, 21 Craig Hampson, 22 Curtis Wilson.