Leeds (17) vs Rotherham Titans (3) - British and Irish Cup fixtures
Just eleven days after beating Leedsin the league,Rotherhamwill be hoping to repeat the feat at Headingley on Wednesday evening, kick off7.30pm.
The B&I Cup presents clubs with an additional opportunity to get their hands on some silverware andRotherhamare keen to impress in this season’s competition.
Titans Head Coach Andre Bester has a squad rotation policy, which he believes will help his team cope better throughout the long hard campaign ahead and will make full use of this policy for the Leeds fixture.
Rotherham will be interested to see how fly half Dave Marshall fairs on debut following his summer move from Nottingham. Second rower Barnie Maddison also on debut, will be keen to catch the eye of Andre Bester after impressing in training and Tom Foden gets his first chance to impress at outside centre.
Looking forward to the fixture Bester explained, “The British and Irish Cup has more importance than in previous years because it’s more for our development of players. Because it’s going to be played in midweek you have to carry a bigger squad than in previous seasons.
“However you don’t want to carry a squad without giving other players the opportunity to make a mark and force their way into the Championship league team. And I believe we have a strong enough squad to compete well this competition.”
RotherhamTitans: 15 Cliffie Hodgson, 14 John McMahon, 13 Tom Foden, 12 Byron Godfrey, 11 Will Du Randt, 10 Dave Marshall, 9 RogerKirkwood, 1 Shane Cahill, 2 Ross White, 3 Ben Harris, 4 Barnie Maddison, 5 Talite Vaioleti, 6 Ross Noonan, 7 Joe Dickinson, 8 Carl Kirwan.
Replacements: Ted Stagg, Ricky Stout, Ben Hooper, Adrian Griffiths, Jimmy Williams, Matt Rhodes, Peter Homan.
Vaioleti injury overshadows cup clash
Rotherham forward Talite Vaioleti sustained a fractured fibula during the B&I Cup clash against Leeds Carnegie to put a real dampener on the night’s proceedings.
Furthermore, depending on the nature of the fracture, a worst case scenario could mean Talite being out of action for around 4 months!
The game itself was keenly contested in difficult wet and windy conditions at Headingley Carnegie, where the hosts came out on top 17-3.
Titans made full use of their squad in what was a determined and committed effort against a very good Leeds outfit. However, with the wind behind them Leeds made much the brighter start and we rewarded on 8 minutes with a catch and drive try from number eight Alex Rieder.
Carnegie continued to gain the upper hand and when Titans gave away a forward pass just 5 metres from their line on 28 minutes, the resulting scrum saw Rieder touch down from the base of the scrum for his and Leeds 2nd try of the night.
Titans slowly started to make inroads as the half progressed, but were often blighted by their own mistakes. However just before the break Dave Marshall converted a penalty to reduce the arrears to 10-3.
The second half was much more encouraging for Titans as they dominated territory and possession pretty much throughout. On several occasions they made good incisive breaks deep into Leeds territory through Noonan, Kirwan, Harris and Brierley. However the home defence held firm on each occasion to frustrate Rotherham.
Titans continued to press and put Leeds under severe pressure, but alas for the visitors they were unable to penetrate the try line as the home defence performed manfully to keep Rotherham out.
Deep into injury time, Referee Andrew Taylorson awarded Leeds a penalty try for Rotherham illegally bringing down a maul close to their line. Tommy Bell converted and brought proceedings to a close.
Post match a fairly contended Andre Bester said, “We played against the elements in the first half and it proved difficult. But to be just 10-3 down at half time playing into that wind was a very good effort. Most of these boys haven’t played for 6 weeks and it’s the first time these boys have come together as a team. You have to remember this is Leeds’ ‘A’ team and you expect them to play very well, they are a professional outfit. But I was disappointed that we gifted them two tries.
“However, it was a very good exercise for everybody, there are things we need to sort out with these boys but it’s a good development phase for them. We lacked cohesion, we were better in the second half but when we should have made the hard yards we went wide and when we should have gone wide we made the hard yards. But you only get that with cohesion and match play, but these boys haven’t played matches together.
“Leeds are a very good side, we lost some games last year in this competition against poor sides but I thought the boys were excellent. Overall I’m very happy with the exercise.”
Rotherham Titans Scorers: Dave Marshal (Pen)
Leeds Carnegie Scorers: Alex Rieder (2T), Penalty Try, Tommy Bell (Con)
Referee: Andrew Taylorson
Rotherham Titans: 15 Cliffie Hodgson, 14 John McMahon, 13 Tom Foden, 12 Byron Godfrey, 11 Will Du Rant, 10 Dave Marshall, 9 Roger Kirkwood, 1 Shane Cahill, 2 Ross White, 3 Ben Harris, 4 Barnie Maddison, 5 Talite Vaioleti, 6 Ross Noonan, 7 Joe Dickinson, 8 Carl Kirwan.
Replacements: Ted Stagg, Rikki Stout, Ben Hooper, Adrian Griffiths, Peter Homan, Jimmy Williams, Matt Rhodes.