League Table

P W D L Pts
2 Worcester Warriors 5 4 0 1 20
3 London Scottish 5 4 0 1 20
4 Doncaster Knights 5 3 0 2 14
5 Rotherham Titans 5 3 0 2 14
6 Nottingham 5 3 0 2 13

Fixtures

Rotherham Titans (49) vs Aberavon (7) - British & Irish Cup

Saturday February 23rd - KO 2.30pm

Pre-Match Report

Titans are delighted that long-term absentees Neale Patrick and Laurence Pearce will start the game at lock and number 8 respectively. Patrick hasn’t represented the Titans since picking up a back injury against Plymouth Albion in September 2012. Whilst Pearce will be making his club debut, following a knee injury sustained at Sheffield Tigers in a pre-season friendly last August.

Tom Carlisle has arrived at Clifton Lane this week on duel registered terms from Premiership side Worcester Warriors. The twenty one years-old fly half starts in the number 10 jersey as he looks to impress on his Titans debut.

Will Robinson and Lloyd Hayes have joined up with the Titans on a trial basis, as the club continues to look at potential recruits to the squad. Robinson, currently contracted at Hull RUFC is a winger who can cover the scrum half position, whilst Hayes who plies his trade at Chester is predominantly a centre.

Former Titan Rikki Stout has been re-registered with the club following his impressive work with the squad recently. Rikki gets the nod for Saturday at tight head prop.

Aberavon will visit Clifton Lane looking to put the record straight after losing at home to the Titans earlier in the competition. Titans ran out narrow 21-25 victors at the Talbot Athletic Ground with Dan Sanderson scoring a try and James McKinney slotting 20 points off the kicking tee.

Looking ahead to the match, Titans Head Coach Alex Codling explained, “In terms of our B&I Cup campaign I’ve been delighted; it’s been a really positive campaign. I think at the outset it’s always tough when you have the current champions in your group, but I think the way the boys played in Munster, where we were a couple of minutes away from getting the win, just highlights how successful the competition has been. Ultimately the slip-up at home against Munster is what’s cost us, but that’s the margins you have to face and we accept that.

“On the face of it, probably three or four weeks ago this game against Aberavon might have been looked at as a dead rubber with nothing to play for. But I think you can see from the team selection and on a personal level I’m massively excited by it, I think it’s a great opportunity for the club.

“It’s a rare opportunity where we can play a competitive match, knowing that the end result is not going to change our destiny in the competition, whilst at the same time it gives us the opportunity to look at players in a competitive environment, both in terms of the short term with players coming back from injury and also with potential players for next season and that excites me massively.

“Every match we play, we play with the intension of winning and that’s no different this week. We know Aberavon aren’t going to travel all this way and then not put in a shift and we’ll need to be ready for the challenge. I see the players coming in for us this as a real positive and the players now have the opportunity to put their hands up and stake a claim for a spot against Newcastle next week.”

Titans: 15 Ed Styles, 14 Will Robinson, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Lloyd Hayes, 11 Pete Homan, 10 Tom Carlisle, 9 Jimmy Williams (Capt.), 1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Rikki Stout, 4 Neale Patrick, 5 Nile Dacres, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Joe Ellyatt, 8 Laurence Pearce.

Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Marshall Gadd, 18 Ross Davies, 19 Pale Nonu, 20 Alex Rieder, 21 Lee Blackett, 22 Garry Law.

Match Report

On a chilly afternoon at Clifton Lane Rotherham Titans put in a performance to warm the cockles of your heart. Right from the off Titans intent to play rugby and score tries was apparent, as a number of early penalty kicks were turned down with kicks to the corner being the preferred option.

Titans’ rampant start saw them go 14-0 up inside the first 13 minutes. First Nile Dacres crashed over following good handling from forwards and backs and then Joel Gill once against demonstrated his power and tenacity when bulldozing over with two Aberavon players hanging of him. Tom Carlisle converted both tries with some accurate kicking.

Aberavon were put under the sternest of pressure as the game developed, causing the visitors to concede repeated penalties. Twenty six minutes in and referee Simon Harding sent Nathan Brown to the bin for his part in Aberavon’s misdemeanours.

Shortly after Titans used their numerical advantage to score a third try through Peter Homan, following good build-up work through Carlisle and Gill. As half time approached and with Rotherham still in the ascendancy, man of the match Laurence Pearce picked up from the base of a scrum and crashed and bullied his way over the line for his first try for the club. Carlisle converted nicely to send the teams in at the break with the hosts holding a well deserved 28-0 advantage.

The second period saw much of the same in terms of the Titans dominating most aspects of the game. The set-scrum in particular was a fruitful platform for them to create good forward momentum. As the pressure mounted on the Welsh side, Stefan Andrews became the second Aberavon player to be sent to the bin, following his side’s persistent infringements at the breakdown on 48 minutes.

Once again the host’s quickly made their numerical advantage tell, when trialist Will Robinson sent in fellow trialist Lloyd Hayes for a neatly worked try. Both men would have been please with their contribution on debut. Carlisle tagged on the extras to make it 35-0.

Impressive breaks then followed by Ed Styles and Laurence Pearce which almost culminated in further tries. However, Aberavon’s spirited and committed defence managed to hold out the rampaging Titans. This was not for long though, as on 53 minutes a penalty try was awarded to Rotherham following their dominance at a five metre scrum.

Credit must go to Aberavon however, as they never stopped competing throughout the match. Just before the hour mark their tenacity and willingness to play rugby whenever possible was rewarded when outside centre Richard Thomas crashed through the Titans defence to run in under the posts for a fine try. Craig Evans converted to get the Wizards on the board.

Six minutes from time the match went to uncontested scrums when Aberavon didn’t have sufficient fit players in the front row.

Titans then rounded off a thrilling afternoon’s entertainment when fly half Tom Carlisle found a gap in the Welsh sides defence and glided through from 30 metres to score. Carlisle converted his own try to leave the final score at 49-7 and Titans involvement in this season’s B&I Cup as a successful one.

Following the match a delighted Titans Head Coach, Alex Codling said, “I said beforehand we’d had a really positive campaign in the B&I Cup this year and to round it off like we have against Aberavon has really pleased me. But for a bad 25 minutes we suffered against Munster, it would have been the Titans progressing into the quarter finals, but that’s the margins at this level.

“The biggest positives for me today were the boys who came in on trial and our two boys who came back from long-term injury, I also thought that Rikki Stout has a fine game. Will on the wing did some great things, Lloyd in the centre had some great touches in the middle and Tom Carlisle showed what a good player he is.

“We’ve always known Laurence is a very powerful player and he always wants to get his hands on the ball. He’s struggled with injuries whilst he’s been here and it’s always great to see someone like that overcome those injuries and make a comeback in the way he did today. We saw some glimpses today of what he’s capable of and we know he can be unbelievably destructive.

“Ed Style’s also did incredibly well today, he’s not had as much game time as he’d probably have liked, but that just shows you the class of the person, when asked to put the jersey on he was outstanding and that’s another huge positive for us.

The plan today, as it has been in recent weeks, was to go out there and play with some tempo. We wanted to get the ball in hand and give it a real go, obviously the nature of today’s game probably allowed us to do that a little bit more and that’s what we tried to do right from the off. Overall I am really delighted with our afternoon’s work.”

Attendance: 738
Referee: Simon Harding
Titans: Dacres (T), Gill (T), Homan (T), Pearce (T), Hayes (T), Penalty Try, Carlisle (1T, 7C).
Aberavon: Richard Thomas (T), Craig Evans (1C).

Titans: 15 Ed Styles, 14 Will Robinson, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Lloyd Hayes (Lee Blackett 60), 11 Pete Homan (Pale Nonu h/t), 10 Tom Carlisle, 9 Jimmy Williams (Capt.), 1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Ted Stagg (Jared Saunders 58), 3 Rikki Stout (Ross Davies 66), 4 Neale Patrick, 5 Nile Dacres, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Joe Ellyatt, 8 Laurence Pearce (Alex Rieder 60).

Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Marshall Gadd, 18 Ross Davies, 19 Pale Nonu, 20 Alex Rieder, 21 Lee Blackett, 22 Garry Law.

Aberavon: 15 Howard Thomas; 14 Stefan Andrews, 13 Richard Thomas, 12 Will Price (Richard Carter h/t), 11 Paul Bamsey; 10 Craig Evans, 9 Dan Davies; 1 Rowan Jenkins (Neil White 56), 2 Evan Yardley (Ieuan Davies 48), 3 Chris John, 4 Rhydian Gierat, 5 Teaghan Price, 6 Lee Purnell (Sean Derrick 53), 7 Richard Morris, 8 Nathan Brown.

Replacements: 16 Nathan Jones, 17 Richard Carter, 18 Mike Kennedy, 19 Ieuan Davies, 20 Sean Derrick, 21 Steffan Jones, 22 Neil White.