Rotherham Titans vs Llanelli RFC - Home - British & Irish Cup
On a grey and wintry afternoon, in which handling with any degree of efficiency was a challenge in itself, it was the hosts who got the scoreboard moving first, when fly half Josh Lewis nailed a 40 metre penalty on 8 minutes after the Titans had fallen foul of the offside line.
Titans own stand in fly half, Welshman Lloyd Hayes, had an opportunity on 15 minutes to level matters. Unfortunately for Rotherham his effort hit the right upright and bounced away, allowing Llanelli to clear the danger.
Five minutes later however, Rotherham nosed themselves ahead after a sustained period of pressure inside the Welsh half. Curtis Wilson made a good break down the left flank before cutting infield and making some hard yards. From some quick recycled ball Dan White took play inside the Welsh 22 before finding Tom Cruse onrushing at pace to collect and power through to score a fine try. Hayes converted to nudge Titans 7-3 up.
On the half hour mark Josh Lewis slotted Llanelli’s second penalty of the game to reduce his side’s arrears to a solitary point.
However, at this stage of the contest Rotherham were enjoying the lion’s share of the game and it was no surprise when on 33 minutes they went over for their second try of the match. Again some quick, effective work by scrum half Dan White allowed Rotherham to go deep inside the Welsh 22, where the ball arrived with Robin Hislop who took play right up to the Llanelli line. The ball came out and Jack Preece was on hand to burrow his way over for a try. Hayes knocked over the conversion to extend the visitors lead to 14-6.
Just on half time Josh Lewis kept his side in touch when he claimed his third penalty success of the match, as the sides went in at the break with the Titans holding a deserved 14-9 advantage.
Although perhaps not as fluent and certainly less dominant, Rotherham had to show their steely defensive side on occasion as Llanelli tried to step up their efforts in search of further points. However, two successful penalties from Lloyd Hayes inside 8 minutes of the restart saw the South Yorkshire side increase their lead to 20-9.
On 52 minutes Rotherham would have been disappointed with themselves after a lapse in concentration resulted in Llanelli scoring a try. A quick tap from the Welsh side had the Titans back peddling apace, as the ball arrived close to the try line. From there the ball was collected by Ed Price who used his strength and tenacity to bulldoze over. Josh Lewis converted to narrow the deficit to 16-20 and suddenly it was game on!
With half an hour of the contest remaining, remarkably there would be no further scores despite the best efforts of both sides. Josh Lewis’ long-range penalty effort on 62 minutes fell agonisingly short for the hosts and both sides had a man each sent to the bin late on for technical offences. However, both sides’ defences remained on top and Rotherham held out for a fine away victory, which sent them to the top of pool 3.
Post-match Titans Head Coach Lee Blackett commented, “We knew it was going to be a big game for us in the competition and we did very well. Sometimes you get on a roll as a side and you gain momentum and when you get on a roll you win these types of games. We could have played better, but we are now playing knock-out rugby and it’s all about the result. We are at the stage where we can’t afford to lose a game. We’ve got three games to go in the pool and we need to win all three if we are going to progress.
“It was a big call for Lloyd Hayes at fly half because he’s a natural centre, he’s trained very little with us at 10 and he probably did only 5 minutes after we lost Garry Law late in the piece yesterday. But I thought Lloyd stepped up and did a good for us. I also thought Dan White put in a good shift and at times was outstanding.
“It’s been a difficult week for us because we have a lot of injuries right now and we had to bring Max Argyle back from Hull Ionians, because we didn’t have any more fit players.
“We said at the start of the season that we would take this competition seriously and I think we have shown that by coming down here and beating a very decent Llanelli side.”
Referee: Kieran Barry (IRFU)
Yellow Card: Broadley (Titans), Dan Thomas (Llanelli)
Titans: Cruse (T), Preece (T), Hayes (2C, 2P)
Llanelli: Ed Price (T), Josh Lewis (1C, 3P)
Titans: 15 Michael Keating, 14 Jamie Broadley, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Jack Roberts, 11 Curtis Wilson, 10 Lloyd Hayes, 9 Dan White (Mulchrone 61), 1 Robin Hislop (Williams 68), 2 Tom Cruse (Sowrey 62), 3 Mark Tampin (Stout 52), 4 Barney Maddison (Capt.), 5 Ben Thomas, 6 Alex Rieder (Birch 52), 7 Jack Preece (Argyle 68), 8 Toby Freeman (To’oala 52).
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Rikki Stout, 19 Ali Birch, 20 Alfie To’oala, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Max Argyle.
Llanelli RFC: 15 Gareth Walters, 14 Aaron Warren (Adams 72), 13 Kristian Philips, 12 Morgan Griffiths (Jones 75), 11 Kyle Evans, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Aled Davies (Lloyd 63), 1 Gareth Thomas (Rhys Thomas 70), 2 Darran Harris (Torin Myhill 71), 3 Horatiu Pungea (Leung 63), 4 Adam Powell (Capt.) (Price 44), 5 Carwyn Jones, 6 Lewis Rawlins, 7 Dan Thomas, 8 Craig Price.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Thomas, 17 Torin Myhill, 18 Ben Leung, 19 Ed Price, 20 Connor Lloyd, 21Daniel Jones, 22 Josh Adams.