All Black seals fate of Titans

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Nottingham RUFC 37

Rotherham Titans 8

Rotherham were well beaten but far from disgraced at Meadow Lane where Nottingham won comfortably by five tries to one in the Championship last night in a league game that was televised live by Sky Sports.

Initally, Titans contained Nottingham well and ended the first half only 8-3 down. But in the second half, Nottingham drew inspiration from their All Black second row Ali Williams – capped 61 times. Rotherham were unable to compete on equal terms.

Rotherham conceded four tries after the break as Nottingham controlled most of the ball and territory.

The Rotherham forwards struggled in the line out against the expertise and class of Williams, but never stopped working hard. The Titans were far more adventurous in the second half but could not cope with Nottingham’s pace.

Nottingham scored tries on 9, 43, 61, 69 and 75 minutes and with their fly half James Arlidge kicking three conversions and two penalties. Rotherham were prevented from counter attacking successfully.

The Titans’ work rate never dropped and they thoroughly deserved to score a consolation try on 72 minutes thanks to the quick thinking of number eight Ryan Burrows, their best forward.

Burrows took an instant tap penalty and charged over the line. His score cut the lead to 30-8, but Nottingham, who had already secured a bonus point for scoring four tries, then added a fifth when their replacement winger Don Blake caught a cross-kick to score in the corner.

Rotherham’s pack showed plenty of endeavour and fighting spirit, but collectively the side, until the second half, seldom looked capable of threatening Nottingham’s line.

This defeat at Meadow Lane means Rotherham have not won away from home in the Championship since beating Bristol at the start of the season.

Nevertheless, this set-back is not fatal to their hopes of reaching the promotion play-offs by finishing in the top eight, and they have the chance to win away against struggling Esher on Saturday.

Nottingham: Jackson, Savage, Streather, Johnston, Sempre, Arlidge, Usasz, Harris, Youngs, Halsall, Kench, Williams, Hammond, Sheriff, Kalamafoni.

Tries: Streather, Savage, Johnston, Buxton (rep), Blake (rep).

Conversions: Arlidge: 3.

Penalties: Arlidge 2.

Rotherham Titans: Welding, S James, Hepworth, Hodgson, Hampsey, Socino, Bedford, Kilbane, Loney, Quigley, Smidt, Sandford, Dickinson, Kettle, Burrows.

Reps: Rhodes, Swatkins, M James, Harris, Dougall, George, Baines.

Try: Burrows.

Penalty: Socino.

Referee: P Knowles.