League Table

P W D L Pts
1 Bristol 8 8 0 0 37
2 Worcester Warriors 8 7 0 1 35
3 London Scottish 8 6 0 2 30
4 Rotherham Titans 8 5 0 3 22
5 Nottingham 8 5 0 3 22

Fixtures

Rotherham Titans (12) vs Bedford Blues (11) - British & Irish Cup

Saturday October 12th - KO 3:00pm - View Photos

Pre-Match Report

Despite being drawn in what many people are calling the “Group of Death” with top sides Bedford, Connacht and Llanelli all competing to progress to the latter stages; Rotherham themselves are determined to give their all as they too share the same ambition.

Ahead of the clash Lee Blackett has made seven changes to his starting line-up with two of those coming in the backline. Jack Roberts gets the nod this week over Joel Gill for the 13 jersey, whilst Dan White makes his first competitive start for the Titans at scrum half.

Pack changes see a whole new front row with last week’s bench of Mike Dias, Ben Sowrey and Mark Tampin all coming in to make their starting debuts. Club Vice-Captain Barney Maddison returns at lock forward, with Jack Preece completing the changes in a reshuffled back row after Ed Williamson had to withdraw this week due to illness.

Tomorrow’s Pool 3 encounter against the Blues from Bedford promises to be an entertaining opener in the competition, as both sides have a penchant to use their backlines to full effect. And despite Bedford’s indifferent start to their Championship campaign, Titans Head Coach Lee Blackett expects the usual tough encounter against one of the division’s top sides.

Blackett explained, “We have a lot of respect for Bedford and their Head Coach Mike Rayer; Mike’s done a terrific job down there for many seasons now and his philosophy on the game is similar to ours. Bedford have a great record in the B&I Cup having previously reached the final and just losing out to Newcastle at the semi final stage last year. So we know they will be coming to Clifton Lane with the intension of keeping up their impressive record in the competition.

“However, we also want to do well in the cup and our aim is to progress out of this difficult pool. I’ve had to make one or two changes this week due to illness and injury, but I feel if the boys perform to their very best levels then we will give ourselves an opportunity.

“We’ve had a great response from our supporters this season and I really hope that continues on Saturday. It really was like having a 16th man on the field against London Welsh last week; the noise that came out of the Shed sent a shiver down my spine. I want as many of our fans to turn out again on Saturday and give the boys the same support, because the boys will be giving their all to get the result we all would like.”

Titans: 15 Michael Keating, 14 Jamie Broadley, 13 Jack Roberts, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Curtis Wilson, 10 Dallan Murphy, 9 Dan White, 1 Mike Dias, 2 Ben Sowrey, 3 Mark Tampin, 4 Barney Maddison (Capt.), 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Ali Birch, 7 Jack Preece, 8 Laurence Pearce.

Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Rikki Stout, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Alex Rieder, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Lloyd Hayes.

Match Report

On a dismal, wet and windy afternoon, which surly signalled unequivocally that autumn had arrived, Rotherham Titans got their B&I Cup campaign off to a winning start, beating Bedford Blues 12-11 at Clifton Lane.

The match was not one for the purists, as the soaking conditions inevitably meant handling errors would be a common feature from both sides throughout. However, the visitors almost scored from the outset as Rotherham appeared to be caught napping as Blues centre Mark Atkinson broke and fed full back Michael Le Bourgeois. The former Jersey man was held up just short of the line as Titans breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Despite a sluggish start from the hosts it was they who nudged the scoreboard first when Juan Pablo Socino struck over a penalty from around 35 metres, following a huge scrum effort from the Titans pack.

To their credit both sides attempted to play some rugby and Bedford’s tactic of employing the up-and-under yielded some early dividends. From a penalty, Bedford’s Jake Sharp kicked nicely into the corner; the resulting line out close to the Titans line saw a number of Bedford’s backs join the maul and the huge drive that followed saw open side Darren Fox touch down for an unconverted try to edge his side 5-3 to the good.

The visitors lead lasted just two minutes as following a Blues infringement at the breakdown on 20 minutes, Socino knocked over a regulation penalty kick from around the Bedford 22 mark.

Unfortunately the game developed into a scrappy affair with the weather claiming control for the most part.

Just before the break however, Bedford prop Nic Auterac broke through and a try looked on with plenty of players in support, but before he could get his pass away Dallan Murphy intervened with a great tackle and the danger was snubbed out. Titans went in at the break with a slim 6-5 advantage.

Just five minutes into the second period and following another dominant scrum by the Titans, Welsh referee Craig Evans awarded the hosts a penalty. From around 30 metres Socino stepped up to increase his sides lead to 9-5.

Bedford bounced back as you would expect a top Championship side to do and within the space of 10 minutes nosed themselves ahead. First Skipper, Canadian International James Pritchard slotted over a penalty, before fly half Jake Sharp struck a sweet drop goal from 30 metres out.

Once again though Bedford’s lead was to last just two minutes; Socino struck his fourth penalty kick of the afternoon to give Rotherham a 12-11 advantage.

Late on Titans flyer Curtis Wilson made a huge surge deep into Blues territory before being brought down and the visitors saw long range drop goal efforts from Sharp and Le Bourgeois not trouble the sticks, as the home side held out for a worthy victory.

Post match Titans Lee Blackett reflected, “I think after our first 5 games I am the happiest after today’s result; I think we righted a few wrongs from last week. We were critical of ourselves during the week on our game management against London Welsh. There were no better conditions than today to test our game management and for me we came through with flying colours.

“The attitude of the boys was outstanding; they took this game every bit as serious as a Championship game, as so they should, because for us it is vital that we do well in this competition. I applaud all the boys for a fantastic effort because sometimes in games with conditions as they were today, it all comes down to the effort put in.

“We know Rugby Union is a winter sport and we’re not going to have the sun on our backs all of the time and as such you have to adapt to the conditions on the day. Teams have to show adaptability if they are going to be successful and I thought our boys did just that. The set piece was very good and I thought all three front row guys put in a great shift.

“I thought Jack Preece was outstanding and I’d also like to make a special mention of Juan Pablo. Juan has been in bed sick for the last 48 hours and the first time he’s really got out of bed in that time was this morning. I think that should show people how serious we are taking this competition.”

Attendance: 875
Referee: Craig Evans (WRU)
Titans: Socino (4P)
Bedford: Fox (T), Sharp (D-G), Pritchard (P).

Titans: 15 Michael Keating, 14 Jamie Broadley, 13 Jack Roberts (Hayes 53), 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Curtis Wilson, 10 Dallan Murphy, 9 Dan White (Mulchrone 64), 1 Mike Dias (Williams 55), 2 Ben Sowrey (Cruse 64), 3 Mark Tampin (Stout 72), 4 Barney Maddison (Capt.), 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Ali Birch (Rieder 48), 7 Jack Preece, 8 Laurence Pearce (Freeman 59).

Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Rikki Stout, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Alex Rieder, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Lloyd Hayes.

Bedford Blues: 15 Michael Le Bourgeois, 14 Ollie Dodge, 13 Sam Stanley, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 James Pritchard (Capt.), 10 Jake Sharp, 9 Darryl Veenendaal (Baldwin 72), 1 Nick Auterac (Fearn 65), 2 Charlie Clare, 3 Phil Boulton, 4 Mike Howard, 5 Ben Gulliver, 6 Tom Armes (Harding 52), 7 Darren Fox, 8 Joe Vandermolen (Tupai 12).

Replacements: 16 Scott Spurling, 17 Ben Cooper, 18 Darren Fearn, 19 Paul Tupai, 20 Sacha Harding, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Brendan Burke.