London Scottish (16) vs Rotherham Titans (11) - Championship
Andre was deliberating long and hard about his first 15 ahead of Sundays clash against new comers London Scottish. "I have such a wealth of talent to choose from it is not going to be an easy choice"
"It is likely that Jamie and Shane will line up with Dan for the front row with Semi, Neale Adrian, Robin and Sean completing the pack"
" Gary and Matty make a good combination in the half backs with Byron and Pale in the centre. Pete and Shane Monaghan will be out on the wing for us with Cliffie at full back."
Nerves were tence around the club house on Friday as the players had a light training session with a final briefing before taking the rest of the day to relax.
"All the off season training will show dividends for us on Sunday as our fitness levels are probably the highest in the league. Our set plays are well rehearsed and were confident of a good performance no matter what the result."
Kick off is 2pm.
Titans Pick Up Bonus in Capital
Rotherham Titans kicked off their campaign with a disappointingly narrow 16-11 defeat, away at Championship new boys London Scottish.
Wet and difficult conditions, together with two silly yellow card offences, contributed heavily against the Titans in their pursuit of an opening day victory. Nevertheless, a dogged performance by Andre Bester’s charges saw theClifton Lanemen earn a deserved bonus point.
After a scrappy opening 20 minutes, which saw the exiles control possession,Rotherhamfound themselves trailing 6-0 courtesy of two James Brown penalties. However with the half-hour approaching andRotherhamtaking a firmer foothold, a delightful backs move involving Homan, Godfrey and Monahan culminated with full back Cliffie Hodgson breaching the whitewash in the corner.
Just before the break a scuffle broke out and the officials deemed it worthy enough forRotherham’s number 8 Semisi Taulava to arrive first for the half time oranges. Despite the disadvantage of being reduced to 14 players, it wasRotherhamthat struck next on the stroke of half time.
Titans’ pressure forced Scottish to give away a penalty on halfway. Up steppedRotherham’s fly-half Garry Law who nonchalantly boomed it straight between the posts to give his side an 8-6 lead at the break.
Rotherhamcontinued to get the upper hand and when Garry Law extended the lead to 11-6 with a well taken drop goal in the 51st minute, it was difficult to see any other result than a Titans victory.
However, as the hour mark arrived, Titans skipper Sean Dougall instinctively but without malice tripped a Scottish player and received a yellow card for his misdemeanour. This time though,Rotherhamwas punished by the exiles man advantage.
Five minutes later, a dominant Scottish scrum inside Titans 22 saw a break from the base conclude with home winger Oliver Grove touching down and James Brown converting to restore the home side’s advantage.
Five minutes from time, the ever increasing dominance of the Scottish scrum earned them another penalty and James Brown knocked over the regulation kick.
Rotherhambattled back gamely as the clock approached the 80 minute mark, but stout Scottish defending heldRotherhamup over the try line. The resulting5 metrescrum was the ideal platform to secure the victory. However, once again the Scottish front row got the upper hand and stole possession and with it wentRotherham’s final opportunity.
After the game a disappointed Andre Bester said, “We always knew it was going to be a very hard match down here. It was their first match after promotion, they’ve invested heavily and the wet conditions played against us and levelled matters out.
“They are a very good scrimmaging outfit and we were probably a little under-cooked with ours. But we were in complete control at 11-6, they never looked like they could do anything in the game and we give a two silly yellow cards away and it cost us vital points on the board.
“But that’s the way we will learn, I’ve said to the players it’s important we came away with the bonus point. It’s important that we don’t come away from this type of difficult game with nothing. We’ve ground out a point and we don’t go home empty handed.
“We got a hiding at the scrimmaging, they’ve got four very good props and sometimes you just have to hold your hands up. At times they went after us, we conceded 6 or 7 penalties at the scrums and we can’t complain about that, however some other decisions given were dubious.
“But we need to remember the season is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and although we are disappointed at not achieving the victory, there’s a very long way to go yet. This is not a bad result and not many teams will come here and get points of them.”