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


Leeds (24) vs Rotherham Titans (7) - Championship

Sunday March 31st - KO 3.00pm

Pre-Match Report

Titans Alex Codling has made just three changes to the starting fifteen that beat Doncaster Knights 19-25 last time out at Castle Park in the Championship.

In the backline Joel Gill and Lee Blackett form a new centre partnership; Eamonn Sheridan moves out onto the wing as Curtis Wilson who’s on loan from Leeds is ineligible for the match. In the pack, the only change sees Toby Freeman return at number 8 for Alex Rieder who gets the nod for a bench spot.

Contests between Rotherham and Leeds tend to be tight affairs and the overall league head to head sees the South Yorkshire side just edging matters 9-8. The game played at Clifton Lane earlier in the season saw Leeds take the points back to West Yorkshire with a 13-24 victory.

Previewing the encounter Alex Codling explained, “Our preparation has been tough in the last few weeks with how the weather’s been in the area, but we had a really good session down at Loughborough on Tuesday both in terms of the weights side and a really good team session against their first side. The facilities down there were outstanding, they had a group of really good guys and overall it was very beneficial for us and we got a lot out of the sessions.

“We know the winner of Sunday’s match will lift the Yorkshire Regiment Trophy and we’d like to be the first club to do that. It would give us something tangible from the season and it would mean a lot to the players and the supporters.

“Leeds will no doubt pose us with a tough challenge, their set piece work is good and their scrum is a much improved part of their game. They’ve got a very good back row, Clegg at ten is always a threat with his experience and their back three are very dangerous. Doherty in particular is a threat; I played with him for the Barbarians and I know just how dangerous he can be, he’s an outstanding finisher.

“We know we’ll be the underdogs up there on Sunday, but our boys relish a challenge and they’ll be ready for that challenge when it arrives. We also know how good we can be when we are all performing well, we saw that against Newcastle and we know on our day we can beat any team in the division. Our aim is to finish off the season with four wins and that starts this week against Leeds.”

Titans: 15 Garry Law (Capt.), 14 Mike Doneghan, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Lee Blackett, 11 Eamonn Sheridan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 Marshall Gadd, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Ben Thomas, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Toby Freeman.

Replacements: 16 Alistair Thomson, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Ross Davies, 19, Alex Rieder, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 Pale Nonu, 22 Jimmy Williams.

Match Report

Leeds came firing out of the blocks and catching the Titans cold raced into a 7-0 lead after just five minutes, with flanker Chris Walker scoring all too easily down the right hand side. Rory Clegg converted to give the hosts a perfect start. Clegg slotted a further two penalties inside the first half hour to stretch Carnegie’s lead, as Rotherham struggled to get a foothold in the game.

Titans eventually burst into life on 32 minutes when Charlie Mulchrone took a quick tap penalty and stormed 40 metres up field through the Leeds defence, taking play close to the host’s line. From there Rotherham secured a scrum and possibly the turning point of the match arrived when Mulchrone picked up from the base and darted through the defence to touch down near the sticks, suddenly Titans were back in the game and with a straightforward conversion to come, it was a 6-point game. However, referee Gamage brought play back for a Rotherham penalty! No apparent signalling came from Gamage, so it’s only guesswork as to why a try was not awarded.

On the stroke of half time Clegg clogged over another penalty to send the hosts in at the break with a healthy 16-0 advantage.

Rotherham performed much better in the second period, enjoying periods of possession and territory. However, the Titans all too often became their own worst enemy with errors occurring at vital times. This coupled with their line out frailties made achieving front foot ball difficult to establish.

Clegg increased Leeds advantage on 54 minutes with another accurate penalty attempt.

Rotherham finally got on the scoreboard just after the hour mark with a neatly worked try. Initial good work from James McKinney found Eamonn Sheridan on the left hand side. Sheridan’s pace and power took play deep into Leeds territory, before a smart pass found Garry Law who ran in to touch down in the corner. Law made a superb conversion to narrow the gap to 19-7.

Titans went in search of further points, but the Carnegie defence held firm thereon in. The score line slightly flatted Leeds late on when Stevie McColl touch down in the far corner in injury time. Clegg missed the difficult conversion from touch, leaving Leeds the deserved 24-7 winners and new holders of the Yorkshire Regiment Trophy.

Post game a disappointed Alex Codling commented, “Leeds had the majority of possession in the first half and whilst we had some real good line breaks, we just didn’t finish them off. The key moment was probably just before half time when we had a series of penalties on their line and came away with nothing. Sometimes you need certain decisions to go your way and today that just didn’t happen.

“I think if we are being brutally candid I think we have got to the stage where we are probably carrying a couple of people, a lot of petrol has gone out of the tank, the boys have played a lot of rugby and we are down to the bare bones right now. But I can’t fault the boys endeavour in the second half.”

Attendance: 2,007
Referee: Darren Gamage
Yellow Card: Toby Freeman & Pale Nonu (Titans), Josh Griffin (Leeds).
Titans: Garry Law (1T, 1C).
Leeds: Chris Walker (T), Stevie McColl (T), Rory Clegg (4P, 1C).

Titans: 15 Garry Law (Capt.) (Jimmy Williams 67), 14 Mike Doneghan, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Lee Blackett (Pale Nonu 52), 11 Eamonn Sheridan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 Marshall Gadd (Jamie Kilbane 66), 2 Ted Stagg (Alistair Thomson 69), 3 Gareth Denman (Ross Davies 59), 4 Ben Thomas, 5 Dan Sanderson (Alex Rieder 43), 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Carl Kirwan (Laurence Pearce 65), 8 Toby Freeman.

Replacements: 16 Alistair Thomson, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Ross Davies, 19, Alex Rieder, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 Pale Nonu, 22 Jimmy Williams.

Leeds: 15 Stevie McColl, 14 Oli Goss, 13 Josh Griffin, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Matt Clark, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Craig Hampson (James Doherty 71), 1 Ben Harris (Joe Graham 65), 2 Scott Freer (Lee Imiolek 65), 3 James Currie (Damien Tussac 65), 4 Calum Green, 5 Matt Smith, 6 Rob Baldwin (Dominic Barrow 65), 7 Chris Walker, 8 Jacob Rowan (Capt.) (Ryan Burrows 55).

Replacements: 16 Joe Graham, 17 Lee Imiolek, 18 Damien Tussac, 19 Dominic Barrow, 20 Ryan Burrows, 21 James Doherty, 22 Joe Ford.