League Table

P W D L Pts
2 Worcester Warriors 5 4 0 1 20
3 London Scottish 5 4 0 1 20
4 Doncaster Knights 5 3 0 2 14
5 Rotherham Titans 5 3 0 2 14
6 Nottingham 5 3 0 2 13

Fixtures

Rotherham Titans (54) vs Jersey (31) - Championship

Saturday September 22nd - KO 3.00pm

Pre-Match Report

Rotherham Titans have made four changes to their line-up ahead of their RFU Championship encounter against Jersey this Saturday.

In the back line Club Captain Garry Law makes his first start of the season, following injury at outside centre, replacing the injured Lee Blackett. At scrum half Jimmy Williams returns allowing Joel Gill some “rest” time. Dan Baines comes back into the fold at hooker for Ted Stagg, whilst Latu Makaafi also makes his first start for the club coming in at open side flanker for Carl Kirwan.

Titans Head Coach Andre Bester is content of where the team are right now, despite a number of injured players within the squad, Bester revealed, “Toby Freeman is almost ready to come back into the squad and he should be available for selection next week. We could have pushed him in there this week, but we’d prefer not to take any chances, not just with Toby but with all our players. We want everyone who takes to the field to be 100% fit.

“Lee Blackett is also out with a dead-leg; again we could have selected him at a push, but as I’ve said it’s about looking after the players. Laurence Pearce is still unavailable, he’s having a scan on his knee today and we should know more when the results come back.

“Fergus Mulchrone is back into training and he’s looking very good, but it will be probably another 3 weeks before we see him on the pitch. He’s looking good and he’s eager to get involved and we are exited at the prospect of all those boys coming back into the squad.

“We’ve put Mike Doneghan on the bench this week and he’s another boy who’s looking to make an impact when the opportunity presents itself. Mike Doneghan made a huge impact when he came on in pre-season against Saracens and Worcester and he is the most experienced winger that we have at the club, despite him still being so young. We are exited by Mike and he’s been unlucky, but it is a long season in the Championship and everyone will get their opportunity at some stage.

“We are very content of where we are with these boys right now and the attitude they have shown so far has been great. We have got good players all over the pitch; but you are only as good as your next match and that will be determined on Saturday when we take on Jersey.

“We will need to do the little things very well and what I’m trying to teach players is to do the basics better than anyone else and be patient and everything else will fall into place. We do have a good depth within the squad, there’s a good work ethic there and there’s a great team spirit and all of that puts us in a good place right now.”

Titans: 15 Mike Whitehead, 14 Eamonn Sheridan, 13 Garry Law (Capt.), 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Peter Homan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill, 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ross Davies, 4 Neale Patrick, 5 Barney Maddison, 6 Alex Rieder, 7 Latu Makaafi, 8 Rory Pitman.

Replacements: 16 Ted Stagg, 17 Simon Gardiner, 18 Marshall Gadd, 19 Dan Sanderson, 20 Carl Kirwan, 21 Mike Doneghan, 22 Joel Gill.

Match Report

Rotherham’s 6-try victory over Jersey moved the South Yorkshire outfit into 4th position in Championship table and they will endeavour to stay there for the remainder of the campaign. However, as a tenacious Jersey side showed, there are no easy games around and whoever finishes in the top four will deserve their reward.

After a scrappy opening few minutes Garry Law slotted a 40-metre penalty to help settle the home-sides nerves. Minutes later following a line out, Jimmy Williams fed Eamonn Sheridan who showed tremendous awareness and speed to race through and touch down from 30 metres under the sticks. Law’s conversion put the hosts 10-0 ahead.

Inexplicably from the restart, Titans threw an ambitious pass inside their own 22 which Dai Bishop intercepted for Jersey and he ran in to score the easiest of tries. Mike Le Bourgeois converted to narrow the gap to 3 points.

Half way through the first period Pale Nonu’s neat pass allowed Garry Law to make an outstanding break to put Jersey under real pressure deep inside their own half. This culminated with Law tagging another penalty over from in front of the posts.

Rotherham now upped the ante and scored three more tries before the break, securing a bonus point along the way. First a move which saw an interchange of passes between Jimmy Williams and Carl Kirwan allowed the latter to score a fine try. This was followed by Williams this time feeding Nonu who crashed through the defence showing a good turn of foot to score near the posts.

The killer third try in this period came via the scrum. Rory Pitman picked up from the base and found Alex Rieder in support; Rieder pinned his ears back and galloped 35 metres to dib down under the posts. Jersey in that period only had a Le Bourgeois penalty to show for their efforts and the sides went in at the break with Rotherham holding a healthy 34-10 advantage.

Once again however, Rotherham started the second half second best and the visitors camped in Titans territory for a full 20 minutes, culminating with Nathan Hannay’s try following a catch and drive move.

The restart allowed Titans into the Jersey half and it didn’t take them long to add to their tally. Following a period of forward pressure the ball arrived with Mike Whitehead who threw a long miss pass out to Garry Law who raced in to score in the corner. Law dusted himself down to convert nicely from near the touch line.

Credit must go to Jersey however; they didn’t roll over but struck back almost immediately with a try of their own. This time a quick tap penalty caught Rotherham slightly disorganised and Glenn Bryce squeezed through to touch down in the left corner.

Following a successful Law penalty on 70 minutes, replacement Mike Doneghan showed lightning pace to score on his Titans debut, following good turnover ball by the home side. Into injury time and Jersey deservedly got something out of the game for their gutsy effort. Almost a sevens style of rugby saw Jersey move the ball from well inside their half through many hands for Dai Bishop to score Jersey’s fourth try of the match and collect a bonus point.

There was just enough time left for Garry Law to slot his tenth successful kick over and bring proceedings to an end, ensuring Titans ran out as worthy 54-31 victors.

A contented Andre Bester reflected, “We perhaps did not have the same mental edge about us that we displayed at Nottingham last week. However, if someone had offered me 54 points, 6 tries scored and a 5-point bonus win before the game, I would have taken it and I take my hat off to the boys for that.

“It’s a 5-point victory and we are not going to dwell on it, we are going to move on and prepare for our next match which is a difficult one away to Plymouth. We are going to learn from the mistakes that we made against Jersey and make sure that we don’t repeat them again.

“It was disrupting losing Latu and Barney early on as it took away some continuity from our pack. In the second half we had walking wounded all over the pitch, but that’s the nature of the game and we know we are going to pick up injuries along the way.

“You also have to take your hat off to Jersey, they kept on working and showed a good level of aggression and physicality and that will stand them in good order. Their line out was good and their scrums were solid and there’s no doubt their first win is not far away.”

Attendance: 1131

Referee: Ross Campbell

Yellow Card: Alex Rieder (55).

Titans: Eamonn Sheridan (T), Carl Kirwan (T), Pale Nonu (T), Alex Rieder (T), Mike Doneghan (T), Garry Law (T, 6C, 4P).

Jersey: Dai Bishop (2T), Glenn Bryce (T), Nathan Hannay (T), Mike Le Bourgeois (4C, 1P).

Titans: 15 Mike Whitehead, 14 Eamonn Sheridan, 13 Garry Law (Capt.), 12 Pale Nonu, 11 Peter Homan (Mike Doneghan 52), 10 James McKinney, 9 Jimmy Williams, 1 Shane Cahill (Marshall Gadd 55), 2 Dan Baines, 3 Ross Davies (Simon Gardiner 58), 4 Neale Patrick, 5 Barney Maddison (Dan Sanderson 29), 6 Alex Rieder (Joel Gill 79), 7 Latu Makaafi (Carl Kirwan 17), 8 Rory Pitman (Ted Stagg 65).

Replacements: 16 Ted Stagg, 17 Simon Gardiner, 18 Marshall Gadd, 19 Dan Sanderson, 20 Carl Kirwan, 21 Mike Doneghan, 22 Joel Gill.

Jersey: 15 Barry Davies, 14 Ed Tellwright, 13 Dai Bishop, 12 Donovan Sanders (Ashley Maggs 55), 11 Glenn Bryce, 10 Mike Le Bourgeois, 9 Dave McCormack, 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Steve Boden (Dave Felton 65), 3 Ben Evans (Sean McCarthy 74) (Brendan O’Brien 75), 4 Nathan Hannay (Capt.), 5 Rob Anderson, 6 Talite Vaoileti (Kingsley Lang 51), 7 Guy Thompson (Nick Trower 67), 8 Fred Silcock.

Replacements: 16 Dave Felton, 17 Sean McCarthy, 18 Dave Markham, 19 Kingsley Lang, 20 Nick Trower, 21 Brendan O’Brien, 22 Ashley Maggs.