If Rotherham Titans are to achieve one of the biggest shocks of the Championship season by beating Worcester Warriors at home on Saturday, they’ll need fly half James McKinney to be in top form with the boot.
The Ulsterman has already shown impressive form as a goal-kicker on his return after a season away.
With the exception of an off-day at Bedford, McKinney has put in match-winning performances against Plymouth and against Jersey (both 15pts.)
Against London Scottish on the league opening day, Rotherham’s number 10 struck six successful penalties in a losing cause, but with promotion favourites Worcester now in his sights, how does he view the Titans’ toughest contest by far five matches into the season?
“I came back to Rotherham to play in the big matches, to test myself against the best” he says.
“Worcester won’t enjoy playing at Clifton Lane. They won’t have the experience of playing at such a ground.
“It’s not what they are used to. We must show them Rotherham aren’t there just to make up the numbers. So it’s going to be a real challenge for them. Unlike against other sides, we will not get that many scoring chances against such a strong team, so we must take them.
“Rotherham have played some good rugby, but we have been imprecise at times and not taken our opportunities. We’ve been impatient and made too many errors, so we have plenty to work on. Worcester, I think, have the best pack in the Championship, therefore we will need to front up.
“Rotherham, though, are moving in the right direction, our forwards did well in Jersey and will make life difficult for Worcester. This match puts a marker down for us because at the end we’ll see just where we are. Worcester are the team to beat and I don’t think there’s much difference between them and Bristol.”
Titans face a side who recently thrashed Nottingham 55-16.