Cup exit for Titans

17th December 2011.'British and Irish Cup.'Rotherham Titans v Ulster.'Pictured Rotherham's Byron Godfrey in the thick of the action.'Picture by Gerard Binks.
17th December 2011.'British and Irish Cup.'Rotherham Titans v Ulster.'Pictured Rotherham's Byron Godfrey in the thick of the action.'Picture by Gerard Binks.
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Now that Rotherham’s interest in the British and Irish Cup is over, the Titans can concentrate their attention even more on securing a place in the Championship’s promotion play-offs.

The few regular league players, who appeared against Ulster in an entertaining and highly competitive clash at Clifton Lane were not injured and will be available for the Christmas Eve game at home against Nottingham (1pm).

This Saturday’s match promises to be one of Rotherham’s toughest Championship games at Clifton Lane this season, and if the Titans are to preserve their unbeaten league record at home, it will show how much progress the side has made since it was put together by coach Andre Bester last summer.

The encouraging performance of several of the Titans’ younger players against a strong Ulster Ravens team delighted Bester who was satisfied that his squad members fought non-stop and scored four tries by backs John McMahon and Peter Homan and forwards Ben Wade and Carl Kirwan.

“I thought our young and inexperienced players who had not played in a proper game for more than five weeks did really well and showed that they can perform at a decent level. Considering that Ulster turned out a strong side that had played in competitions at a higher level than the Championship, I was really proud of our boys,” said Bester.

Rotherham’s coach would not comment on the performance of his 18 year old son, Jan-Francois Bester, who made his full debut for the club. The young Bester was picked at hooker and showed plenty of promise. From time to time, Rotherham’s handling was careless, but there was nothing sloppy about their tries on four, 11, and 59 and 75 minutes in a cup tie that was not finally settled until the 80th minute when Ulster, leading by only 26-24, grabbed their fourth try and a place in the quarter finals.

One of the younger players who has developed since his arrival is flanker Kirwan who has shown in his rare appearances that he can compete in the Championship.

The former Middlesbrough forward scored a fine try on 75 minutes against Ulster as his pace ripped through their defence, a score which cut the Ravens’ lead to just 26-22.

n Titans: Hamilton, McMahon, Brierley, Godfrey, Homan, Hodgson, Rhodes, Kilbane, Bester, Hooper, Harris, Griffiths, Wade, Kirwan, Dickinson. Reps: White, Stagg, O’Donnell, Cahill, Maddison, Williams, Tellwright.

n Tries: McMahon, Wade, Homan, Kirwan.

n Conversions: Hodgson 2.

n Referee: Ian Davies.