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 (21) vs Munster (36) - British & Irish Cup

Saturday December 8th - KO 2.00pm

Pre-Match Report

Titans make seven changes to the starting line-up that beat Moseley 16-20 last time out. Along the back line Joel Gill returns to the side at outside centre, Ed Styles comes in on the wing, whilst Jimmy Williams returns from injury and will start in the number 9 jersey.

In the pack, Shane Cahill and Gareth Denman get the nod at loose head and tight head prop respectively, Nile Dacres makes his first start in the second row and Joe Ellyatt is preferred this week at open side flanker.

Titans have never met Munster before in a competitive match and are expecting the current holders of the British & Irish Cup to pose a real challenge, as they attempt to retain the trophy.

Titans Head Coach Alex Codling looking ahead to the clash said, “We will be focused on getting the right result, but we are also aware that Munster will present us with a massive challenge, although it will be an exciting one nonetheless. Munster is a great club, steeped in honour and tradition and they have competed at the highest level of club rugby for many years.

“Munster has always been a very powerful side and when you look at the Irish sides there’s always been a big emphasis on the tackle area, they are very aggressive and they are very good at staying on their feet in the contact area which helps them turn lots of ball over. Nevertheless, if we perform as well as we can here at Clifton Lane, we know we are capable of getting the right result.”

The Clifton Lane ground and bar is open from 12pm, with tickets available on the day.

Titans: 15 Fergus Mulchrone (Capt.), 14 Peter Homan, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Ed Styles, 10 James McKinney, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Nile Dacres, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Joe Ellyatt, 8 Rory Pitman.

Replacements: 16 Marshall Gadd, 17 Ross Davies, 18 Dan Sanderson, 19 Alex Rieder, 20 George Oliver, 21 Garry Law, 22 Charlie Mulchrone.

Match Report

On a bright but cold afternoon at Clifton Lane it was Munster that came out of the blocks quickest, showing slick handling skills at pace. Indeed, Rotherham were trapped inside their own 22 until eventually they conceded a penalty which Munster fly half Scott Deasy knocked over for an easy 3-pointer.

However, Rotherham responded well and from a line out around the visitors 22 the ball arrived with Jimmy Williams. The diminutive scrum half sold the visitors a neat dummy before gliding through to touch down at the clubhouse end. James McKinney just missed the left upright with his conversion attempt.

Midway through the first half following a period of pressure, the visitors were awarded a penalty and opted for a scrum 5 metres from the Titans line. The hosts were deemed by Welsh referee Greg Morgan to have deliberately wheeled the scrum and Morgan immediately ran under the posts to award Munster a penalty try. Deasy tagged on the extras.

Rotherham began to get a foothold in the game and started to exert some pressure of their own; they were duly rewarded on 25 minutes when McKinney confidently slotted over a penalty from 40 metres. Shortly after when in a threatening position down the right flank, an opportunity for a Titans try was lost when referee Morgan pulled the home side back for a forward pass. However, on the half hour mark McKinney put the host ahead once again with a nicely taken penalty from near the touchline.

At this stage of the contest there was little to choose between the sides. However, the Titans would have been disappointed with their defending 5 minutes before the break when Munster winger Luke O'Dea ran in far too easily to touch down near the corner for an unconverted try.

Not deterred Rotherham bounced back on the stroke of half time, after forcing a desperate Munster to concede another penalty at the breakdown. The reliable McKinney stepped-up and from 35 metres punished the visitors, ending the half with Titans trailing by a solitary point at 14-15.

The second period began fairly evenly until bulky Irish prop James Cronin collected the ball around the Titans 22 and proceeded to crash through the home defence to touch down. Deasy added the extras to give Munster an 8 point advantage.

The turning point of the contest came two minutes later when Dan Sanderson was yellow carded for the home side for foul play. When the giant lock returned to action 10 minutes later, Munster had added 14 points to their tally following tries from Sean Henry and Scott Deasy, with the latter converting on both occasions, giving Munster an unassailable 14-36 lead.

Rotherham however never stopped battling and had much the better of the final 10 minutes, putting immense pressure on the visitors which culminated with 2 Munster players receiving yellow cards, Ian Nagle and Philip Donnellan being the culprits.

Not surprisingly Rotherham elected to restart the game with a scrum just 5 metres from the visitors line and when the Irish side collapsed the scrum, referee Morgan had no choice but to award the Titans a penalty try. McKinney converted to reduce Titans arrears to 21-36.

Rotherham pressed on in search of a further score, but the Irishmen held firm to fully deserve their victory and leapfrog the Titans as Pool 7 leaders.


Post match Titans Head Coach Alex Codling reflected, “Despite the score line I think there are plenty of positives that we can take from the game. Often when you lose a game you can say there are positives, but in real terms there aren’t too many, but today I genuinely thought there were plenty. Additionally, there’s no doubt that Munster are an outstanding side and they must be huge favourites to go on and win the competition.

“We were a point behind at half time and I thought we played some outstanding rugby at times. We had to defend well for the first 15 minutes or so, because we didn’t see much of the ball. We then grew into the game and showed some good adventure and execution in attack and I was really pleased.

“Ultimately however, when you are playing against the top sides it comes down to small margins. I thought they were very smart at the tackle area, but more importantly our discipline was not as good as it should have been.

“I thought the yellow card was effectively the difference; whether we would have gone on to win it I couldn’t say, but certainly in the end the margin was to concede two tries at that point, you then lose complete control of the game.

“We’ve now lost control of Pool 7 and therefore we have nothing to lose next week when we go to Ireland and we’ll go out there and give it a real go. Just to finally add, I thought once again our supporters were marvellous and they really got behind the team.”


Attendance: 1014
Referee: Greg Morgan (WRU)
Yellow Card: Sanderson (51), Nagle (73), Donnellan (73).
Titans: Williams (T), Penalty Try, McKinney (3P, 1C).
Munster: Penalty Try, O’Dea (T), Cronin (T), Henry (T), Deasy (T, P, 4C).

Titans: 15 Fergus Mulchrone (Capt.), 14 Peter Homan, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Pale Nonu (Garry Law 58), 11 Ed Styles, 10 James McKinney, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill (Marshall Gadd H/T), 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Gareth Denman (Ross Davies H/T), 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Nile Dacres (Dan Sanderson H/T), 6 Latu Makaafi (Alex Rieder 58), 7 Joe Ellyatt (George Oliver 58), 8 Rory Pitman.

Replacements: 16 Marshall Gadd, 17 Ross Davies, 18 Dan Sanderson, 19 Alex Rieder, 20 George Oliver, 21 Garry Law, 22 Charlie Mulchrone.

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley (Ronan O'Mahony 51); 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Ivan Dineen, 11 Luke O'Dea; 10 Scott Deasy (Johnny Holland 70), 9 Cathal Sheridan (Brian Slater 78); 1 James Cronin, 2 Sean Henry (Capt.) (Duncan Casey 64), 3 John Ryan (Christy Condon 66); 4 Dave Foley (Philip Donnellan 70), 5 Ian Nagle; 6 Brian Hayes, 7 Ryan Murphy, 8 Shane Buckley (Jack O'Donoghue 39).

Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 Christy Condon, 18 Philip Donnellan, 19 Jack O'Donoghue, 20 Brian Slater, 21 Johnny Holland, 22 Ronan O'Mahony.