Rotherham Titans (40) vs Moseley (31) - Championship
Titans look for first ‘Double’ of the season
Titans visit to Moseley back in October saw them pick up maximum points in a 5-try romp as they ran out impressive 36-8 victors and the South Yorkshire side would like a similar result on Saturday, following disappointing back to back losses in the Championship.
Titans coach Andre Bester has made 4 changes this week, with two of those positional. In the back line Elliot Brierley comes in at outside centre for Dave McCall, at lock Adrian Griffiths returns, meaning club captain Sam Dickinson moves to number 8 and Robin Copeland switches back to blindside. Semisi Taulava is expected to be on the bench.
The clubs have an overall head to head which sees Rotherham hold a healthy 18-8 advantage, although the south Birmingham side have won 6 of the last 9 encounters, meaning Rotherham will not take anything for granted.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game Andre Bester said, “Moseley is just another match and I’m not making any more of it than that. Every team in the division has had a blip at different stages of the season and after the holiday period we had ours and hopefully it is now behind us.
“The important thing is it doesn’t make us a bad side overnight and I have to say we’ve not had the rub of the green recently. All teams need that bit of luck and we are no different. The team that ends up winning the Championship this year will no doubt have that bit of luck coming their way.
“Worcester are currently doing very well in the Premiership and they benefited last year with a penalty being missed in front of the posts; they wouldn’t be in the Premiership had that kick gone over, all successful sides need that bit of luck. I feel we are due some and I hope we manage to get ours when we get into the play-offs.
“We know by now that all Championship games are tough encounters and Moseley has a tough set of forwards and a very good back line which will test us throughout. Moseley strength has always been their pack but there are playing a fairly expansive game right now.
“It is probably a characteristic of teams trying to play their way out of the relegation play-offs. They have a no fear attitude towards matches and they have a go, because the pressure is not as much on them and that allows them some freedom. Currently Moseley are playing without fear and that’s why they are getting some fairly good results. You only see how good a team is when the pressure is on!
“However, if Rotherham play well, there is not a team in the league that can beat them!”
Titans: 15 Tom Foden, 14 Peter Homan, 13 Elliot Brierley, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Garry Law, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Rob O’Donnell, 4 Barney Maddison, 5 Adrian Griffiths, 6 Robin Copeland, 7 Sean Dougall, 8 Sam Dickinson (Capt.).
Replacements: 16 Dan Baines, 17 Shane Cahill, 18 Ben Harris, 19 Semisi Taulava, 20 Byron Godfrey, 21 Matt Rhodes, 22 Cliffie Hodgson.
Titans victorious with 6 try romp
Rotherham Titans got their push for a top-end finish back on track with a worthy 40-31 victory over a very competitive Moseley side at Clifton Lane. A high scoring encounter saw the host’s score 6 tries to the visitors four, the latter in doing so earned a deserved bonus point.
Titans got off to a flying start when after 13 minutes speedy winger Elliot Brierley collected turnover ball and raced 80 metres down the right flank to score his first try for the club. Cliffie Hodgson converted to give Rotherham an early 7-0 lead. Four minutes later and the scores were level after Neil Mason was driven over by the Moseley pack from a line out close to the Titans line. Glynn Hughes converted to level matters.
Rotherham responded and enjoyed a period of possession and territory which resulted in two converted tries. Sam Dickinson and Dan Baines touched down following catch and drive moves inside the visitors 22, Hodgson converted both to give the hosts a healthy 21-7 advantage.
Hughes nibbled into Titans lead on the half hour mark from a penalty after the host’s were penalised by referee Lee for encroaching in the loose. However the home side once again responded quickly and just 3 minutes later and again from a catch and drive, Dan Baines crashed over for his 2nd try of the match. Hodgson converted to stretch the lead to 28-10.
In a half that was fast becoming an end to end encounter it was Moseley’s turn to strike. Possibly the try of the match saw quick hands, speedy interchange and quality offloads result in Glynn Hughes going over near the corner on 36 minutes. Hughes converted his own try to reduce the arrears.
Back to Rotherham and on the stroke of half time, from a scrum close to the Moseley line Shane Cahill was driven over for his first try for the club. Hodgson hit the upright with his conversion and the sides went in at the break with Titans holding a worthy 33-17 lead.
Within 15 minutes of the restart, Moseley who had started the half much the brighter, scored two converted tries to reduce their deficit to just two points and give Rotherham a real wake-up call. Andy Reay first exposed a gaping hole in Titans defence to score under the posts and then Michael Ellery sneaked over in the corner following a 5 metre scrum. Hughes converted and suddenly the game was up for grabs.
Rotherham began to edge themselves back into the contest and defended manfully when the occasion presented itself. The pressure was lifted in the 72nd minute when club captain Sam Dickinson scored from the base of another dominant Titans scrum. Replacement Garry Law converted to put daylight between the sides.
Moseley had a late rally in search of a losing bonus point, but Rotherham were controlled in defence and ran out worthy winners. Post match Titans coach Andre Bester said, “We knew beforehand it was going to be tough against Moseley and that’s how it panned out. I was pleased to secure the bonus point before half time, but I thought our game management in the second half let us down a little.
“Games like today give us the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t work and what we are good at. At this stage however we are still struggling to see what we are good at and what we are not good at. It’s good for teams like Moseley to put us under pressure and to see how we react. I thought Moseley played very well in the second half and they deserved every point that they got.
“They were things that we didn’t do well and we are not as sharp as we have been earlier on in the season. We knew at this stage of the season that we would taper off somewhat with the play-offs coming up.
“We made lots of changes for the game and tried some new combinations and I am very happy with the win and I’m happy with how we reacted at the end. I thought all the players played very well, it was difficult for some of the players to come into the side having not played a lot of rugby recently, but I thought they all played their part. We know we have some issues and we will look at those as we progress through the rest of the season.
“I thought our pack was pretty devastating and commanding today and for our pack to have only come together at the start of the year and be already at the level they are, I think that is amazing.”
Referee: Steve Lee
Titans: Baines (2T), Dickinson (2T), Brierley (T), Cahill (T), Hodgson (4C), Law (1C).
Moseley: Mason (T), Reay (T), Ellery (T), Hughes (T, 4C, 1P).
Titans: 15 Tom Foden (Garry Law 65), 14 Elliot Brierley, 13 Shane Monahan, 12 Byron Godfrey (Pale Nonu 55), 11 Peter Homan, 10 Cliffie Hodgson, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill (Jamie Kilbane 60), 2 Dan Baines (Ted Stagg 79), 3 Rob O’Donnell, 4 Barney Maddison, 5 Adrian Griffiths (Robin Copeland 55), 6 Sam Dickinson (Capt.), 7 Carl Kirwan (Sean Dougall 49), 8 Semisi Taulava.
Not Used: Ben Harris.
Moseley: 15 Glynn Hughes, 14 Anthony Carter, 13 Brad Hunt, 12 Andy Reay, 11 William Robinson, 10 Bradley Davies, 9 Ryan Glynn (Sam Brown 69), 1 Marshall Gadd (Craig Voisey 55), 2 Colin Quigley, 3 Anthony O’Donnell (Adam Caves 65), 4 Paul Spivey, 5 Richard Stott (James Ingles 76), 6 Michael Maltman, 7 Michael Ellery, 8 Neil Mason.
Not Used: Michael Lowcock, Michael Gillick, Oliver Thomas.