Rotherham Titans (18) vs Leeds (21) - Championship Play Offs Pool B
Titans ready for derby battle
Mathematically, it is still possible for Titans to reach the semi-final stage of the competition, but anything less than a victory over local rivals Leeds will see their slender hopes evaporate.
The only change to the squad that narrowly lost 14-17 to Cornish Pirates last time out is Cliffie Hodgson comes in for the injured Garry Law at fly-half.
Looking ahead to the contest Titans assistant coach Ben Wade said, “The boys have trained very well this week and they are ready for what we anticipate will be a tough Yorkshire battle. Both Leeds and ourselves can still progress from the pool, throw into the mix it’s a local derby with lots of pride at stake and that means both sides will be giving everything to gain the victory.
“We had a tremendous victory at Leeds just four weeks ago and to repeat that result would be brilliant, unfortunately that will count for nothing when the teams run out at Clifton Lane on Saturday. The boys know that and there won’t be any complacency on our part. We’d like to sign off our last game of the season at Clifton Lane with a memorable victory and finish the campaign as the top side in Yorkshire.”
Rotherham Titans: 15 Tom Foden, 14 Peter Homan, 13 Dave McCall, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Cliffie Hodgson, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill, 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ben Hooper, 4 Neale Patrick, 5 Barney Maddison, 6 Robin Copeland, 7 Sean Dougall (Capt.), 8 Semisi Taulava.
Replacements: 16 Ted Stagg, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Talite Vaioleti, 19 Adrian Griffiths, 20 Carl Kirwan, 21 Ed Tellwright, 22 Stephen Hamilton.
Titans edged out in derby
Rotherham Titans were narrowly beaten 18-21 by Yorkshire rivals Leeds Carnegie in a tight, competitive encounter at Clifton Lane.
The results ends Titans hopes of progressing further in this season’s competition, but they can take great heart from their resilient efforts against a much improved Leeds side.
Titans started the match much the brighter and thought they’d gone ahead after just two minutes when Ed Tellwright hacked on from a Leeds blunder and gave chase to touch down. Unfortunately for him the ball had just gone through the dead ball area. Minutes later however, Titans took the lead when Steve Hamilton knocked over a penalty after Leeds had entered the maul from the side.
Leeds edged their way back into the contest and levelled matters when Joe Ford hit a long range penalty on 19 minutes. Just 3 minutes later and ex Titan Ryan Burrows galloped 30 metres through the home defence to score a try that Rotherham will not have been pleased to concede. Ford converted to stretch the visitors lead.
Little errors began to creep into Titans play and as a result Leeds started to get on top. Seven minutes before the interval Leeds skipper Andy Titterrell was driven over from a 5-metre catch and drive move, which increased the visitor’s advantage to 15-6. Another long range penalty from Ford just before the break sent the sides in with Titans trailing 6-18.
Titans came out for the second period fired-up and could have scored just 3 minutes in, unfortunately Pale Nonu was held up over the Leeds line to prevent the score. Titans continued to press and had the majority of possession and territory as they went in search of further points. Just after the hour mark, outside centre Shane Monahan was bundled into touch just as he was about to touch down for a try.
Not deterred, Titans were on the board just two minutes later. A five metre line out saw the Rotherham pack drive powerfully forward, this culminated with Semisi Taulava dibbing down. Hamilton made an excellent conversion from near the touch line to reduce the arrears to 13-18.
Titans pressed on in search of victory and Leeds defended manfully on multiple occasions to keep out the South Yorkshire side. On 80 minutes Titans worked a promising field position and earned a line out just 5 metres from the visitor’s line. Sadly for Titans, Leeds stole the line out ball and cleared the significant danger.
Three minutes into injury time replacement Leeds fly half Tommy Bell knocked over a penalty after Byron Godfrey had been pinged for a deliberate knock on. In the final play of the match Shane Monahan scored a neat try in the corner to give Titans a losing bonus point after good work from Pale Nonu. In an attempt to get the game restarted quickly, Hamilton attempted a drop goal conversion. The ball just drifted wide of the right stick and referee Lee blew for time.
Post match Titans coach Andre Bester said, “I thought we played extremely well and I’m very disappointed that we didn’t manage to get the victory. I thought our second half performance was outstanding and overall I thought we deserved to get the points. We created so many opportunities, but once again we weren’t clinical enough when it really mattered.”
Referee: Steve Lee
Titans: Taulava (T), Monahan (T), Hamilton (2P, 1C).
Leeds: Burrows (T), Titterrell (T), Ford (2P, 1C), Bell (1P).
Rotherham Titans: 15 Dave McCall, 14 Peter Homan, 13 Shane Monahan, 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Ed Tellwright (Byron Godfrey 52), 10 Stephen Hamilton, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill (Jamie Kilbane 25), 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ben Hooper, 4 Neale Patrick (Robin Copeland 58), 5 Barney Maddison (Adrian Griffiths 71), 6 Carl Kirwan, 7 Sean Dougall (Capt.), 8 Semisi Taulava.
Replacements: 16 Ted Stagg, 17 Jamie Kilbane, 18 Talite Vaioleti, 19 Adrian Griffiths, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Matt Rhodes, 22 Byron Godfrey.
Leeds Carnegie: 15 Stevie McColl, 14 Michael Stephenson, 13 Iain Thornley, 12 Scott Barrow (Jordan Davies 58), 11 Pete Lucock, 10 Joe Ford (Tommy Bell 63), 9 Will Cliff, 1 Mike MacDonald (Halani Aulika 63), 2 Andy Titterrell (Capt.) (Scott Freer 74), 3 Halani Aulika (Mo Mustafa 47), 4 Jon Pendlebury (Chris Walker 47), 5 Sean Hohneck, 6 Richard Beck, 7 Jacob Rowan, 8 Ryan Burrows (Ed Williamson 58).
Replacements: 16 Scott Freer, 17 Mo Mustafa, 18 Ed Williamson, 19 Chris Walker, 20 Robbie Shaw, 21 Jordan Davies, 22 Tommy Bell.