League Table

P W D L Pts
1 Bristol 21 17 0 4 86
2 London Welsh 21 18 0 3 82
3 Leeds 21 16 0 5 75
4 Rotherham Titans 21 16 0 5 75
5 London Scottish 21 13 0 8 61

Fixtures

Jersey (13) vs Rotherham Titans (10) - Championship

Saturday January 26th - KO 3.00pm

Pre-Match Report

There are two changes along the backline; returning from injury are Lee Blackett who comes in at outside centre and Eamonn Sheridan who will start on the wing.

In the pack Marshall Gadd and Ted Stagg come into the front row, Latu Makaafi returns at blind side flanker, whilst Alex Rieder gets the nod for the number 8 shirt.

The only previous competitive meeting between the clubs came back in September at Clifton Lane. That day Rotherham ran out 54-31 winners; picking up a bonus point following their 6-try performance.

Jersey however, are a much improved side to the one that played at Clifton Lane and their home form of late has been impressive. In their last four Championship home games they have beaten Leeds Carnegie, Plymouth Albion and London Scottish; their only reversal was a respectable 3-24 defeat to runaway league leaders Newcastle Falcons.

Previewing the challenge ahead, Titans Alex Codling said, “All games are tough in this division and away games particularly so. Jersey will be desperate for the points, they’ve had a good run of results at home recently and they will fancy their chances. But we have been playing well of late also.

“We have been frustrated with the weather for the last couple of weeks and that’s restricted us in terms of how much training we have done. In an ideal world we would have liked to have had a full week’s normal preparation, but that’s not been possible due to the weather.

However, we can’t do anything about that, we’ve managed the situation as best as we could and we’ve just got to get on with things. We done some indoor work at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield and that’s been beneficial, although we would have preferred to have done some contact work.

“Jersey has gone through a natural cycle coming into the league, very similar to London Scottish last year and when you’re new to the Championship it takes time to adapt and they’ve done that very well.

“One of Jersey’s major forces is their scrum, but I wouldn’t say that’s their only force and I think we would be doing them a disservice if we said it was. But it is an area of strength for them as it for us. We are looking forward to the battle and it’s a great opportunity for the boys to build on the last few weeks.

“If the boys play to their potential, then I would back them against any team in the division on their day. So, it’s a case of us being as prepared as possible for the challenge and it’s a challenge we are looking forward to.”

Titans: 15 Fergus Mulchrone, 14 Mike Doneghan, 13 Lee Blackett, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Eamonn Sheridan, 10 Garry Law (Capt.), 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 Marshall Gadd, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Ben Thomas, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Joe Ellyatt, 8 Alex Rieder.

Replacements: 16 Harry Hannan, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Ross Davies, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Rory Pitman, 21 Joel Gill, 22 James McKinney.

Match Report

Rotherham Titans put in an outstanding effort in less than ideal conditions and can consider themselves unfortunate not to have sealed the away victory in a low-scoring encounter against Jersey.

In a scrappy first half with conditions making handling difficult, it was Rotherham who marginally had the better of things. Mike Le Bourgeois and Garry Law traded penalties on 18 and 20 minutes respectively, as try-scoring opportunities were kept to a minimum.

Just after the half hour mark, a clever chip ahead by Fergus Mulchrone had the home side in a panic; with Jersey just managing to clear the danger under huge pressure. Two minutes later Titans broke the Jersey defence and took play up to the host’s line, before Jersey scrum half Nicky Griffiths made a try-saving tackle.

What followed then for a full ten minutes was a series of Titans scrums, just 5 metres from the Jersey try line. After a number of reset scrums and two penalties awarded against the home side at the set piece; referee Steve Lee sent Jersey’s tight head prop Jon Brennan to the bin, following his part in Jersey’s constant collapsing of the scrum. Surprisingly at this point, the referee did not award a penalty try to the visitors.

Following another penalty at the reset scrum against Jersey, the home side wouldn’t have had too many complaints if referee Lee had charged under the sticks with one arm in the air. However, that wasn’t the case and another scrum ensued. This time Jersey managed to turn the ball and clear the huge danger they had been under as the half time whistle went.

Jersey started the second period much the brighter and were rewarded for their efforts on 46 minutes when number 8 Guy Thompson was driven over from close range, following some good work by the home pack. Le Bourgeois converted to give the host’s a 10-3 lead.

Just before the hour mark Titans Latu Makaafi made an impressive break, beating 3 players as he took play up to the Jersey 22. Unfortunately Rotherham knocked on and the home side cleared the danger. Rotherham continued to press and three minutes later took play up to the Jersey try line before frustratingly knocking on.

Twelve minutes from time and a foray by Jersey into Titans 22 resulted with Le Bourgeois adding a penalty, which increased the home side advantage to 13-3.

Rotherham regrouped with an increase in urgency and quickly responded. From a line out deep in Jersey territory the ball arrived with Charlie Mulchrone. The livewire scrum half reacted quickly; finding a gap in the home defence he galloped through to score a fine try. Law converted to reduce the arrears to 3 points.

Titans pressed and dominated the remainder of the contest. Barry Davies reacted well on 74 minutes as he cleared the danger for Jersey. Two minutes later from a line out Titans drove forward menacingly through their pack, but once again Jersey defended magnificently to snuff out the threat.

Three minutes into injury time Jersey wing Ashley Maggs was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on as he prevented Rotherham making forward advances. Into the 7th minute of injury time and as Rotherham pressed deep inside Jersey territory, referee Lee stopped play for a fracas, which saw Dave Markham and Dan Sanderson sent to the bin. The game was restarted from around halfway and unfortunately for Rotherham, the clock ticked down and that was that.

Post match Titans Head Coach Alex Codling reflected, “It was a great effort by the boys and I couldn’t have asked them for anymore. We tried to play some rugby in horrendous underfoot conditions and I didn’t think we deserved to lose the game. We had some key moments that we didn’t capitalise on and we weren’t clinical enough when we needed to be.

“We did a lot of good things out there, but in the end it came down to small margins and we’re all devastated that we didn’t win the match.”

Attendance: 1808
Referee: Steve Lee
Titans: Charlie Mulchrone (T), Garry Law (1P, 1C).
Jersey: Guy Thompson (T), Mike Le Bourgeois (2P, 1C).

Titans: 15 Fergus Mulchrone, 14 Mike Doneghan, 13 Lee Blackett, 12 Pale Nonu (James McKinney 65), 11 Eamonn Sheridan, 10 Garry Law (Capt.), 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 Marshall Gadd (Jamie Kilbane 73), 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Gareth Denman (Ross Davies 59), 4 Ben Thomas, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Joe Ellyatt (Toby Freeman 52), 8 Alex Rieder (Rory Pitman 46).

Replacements: 16 Harry Hannan, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Ross Davies, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Rory Pitman, 21 Joel Gill, 22 James McKinney.

Jersey: 15 Barry Davies, 14 Ashley Maggs, 13 Dai Bishop (Capt.), 12 Tom Cooper (Ross Broadfoot 69), 11 Ed Dawson, 10 Mike Le Bourgeois, 9 Nicky Griffiths, 1 Sean McCarthy (Richard Barrington 69), 2 Dave Felton (Charlie Clare 52), 3 Jon Brennan (James Gethings 36-46), 4 Nathan Hannay, 5 Dave Markham, 6 Kingsley Lang (Eoghan Nihill 74), 7 Joe Buckle, 8 Guy Thompson.

Replacements: 16 Richard Barrington, 17 Charlie Clare, 18 James Gethings, 19 Rob Anderson, 20 Eoghan Nihill, 21 Dave McCormack, 22 Ross Broadfoot.