Rotherham’s new centre, Dave McCall, who is on a month’s loan from Glasgow Warriors, is being thrown into the deep end tomorrow as he makes his Championship debut in the South Yorkshire derby against Doncaster Knights at Clifton Lane.
The 24-year-old Scot, who has impressed in training this week after making his first appearance for the club last Saturday at Swansea in the British and Irish Cup, will form a centre partnership with Kiwi Palepoi Nonu.
Apart from duties in attack, McCall and Nonu will be required to mark tightly the dangerous Doncaster centres,PJ Gidlow and Ollie Goss, as Rotherham aim to recover from their Championship defeat at Cornish Pirates a fortnight ago.
The battle at Clifton Lane, which is expected to attract a crowd of more than 2,000, will see a confrontation between two evenly matched sides who are both currently in the top eight of the Championship.
Rotherham, fifth in the table, are four points ahead of their South Yorkshire rivals who are place below; both have similar records so far this season. Rotherham have won six games out of 10 and have made the more confident start whereas Doncaster, coached by Brett Davey, have been successful in five league games from 10.
The Welsh coach will be demanding a much stronger performance from his side, which will contain several former Rotherham players, such as forwards Glen Kenworthy and Sam Challinor, than in their previous Championship game when they lost poorly at home to London Welsh two weeks ago.
Titans’ coach, Andre Bester, will be relying on the power of his pack to protect Rotherham’s unbeaten league record at Clifton Lane; the back row of Robin Copeland, Sean Dougall and Semisi Taulava are feeling much fresher after being rested for the Swansea game.
The identity of the Titans’ front row to take on Doncaster has not been revealed, but one suggestion is that Bester will start with Shane Cahill, who will relish playing against his former club, Ted Stagg and Ben Hooper, and then early in the second half he will bring on the big hitters, namely Rob O’Donnell, Jamie Kilbane and Ben Hooper.
In what should be a close game, the Championship’s leading points’ scorer, Rotherham fly half Garry Law, will play a highly influential role and given his accuracy as a goal kicker, which has seen him compile 122 points in 10 league matches, it would not be a surprise if the Scot emerged as the Titans’ match winner.
Rotherham Titans (from): Foden, Tellwright, McCall, Nonu, Monahan, Law, Williams, Cahill, Stagg,
Hooper, O’Donnell, Baines, Kilbane, Dickinson, Griffiths, Maddison, Copeland, Dougall, Taulava, Rhodes, Hamilton, Kirwan, Hodgson, Godfrey.