Cup form boosts Titans before Carnegie challenge

Rotherham Titans' James McKinney
Rotherham Titans' James McKinney
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Rotherham Titans coach Lee Blackett has described the Championship clash against Yorkshire Carnegie a week on Friday as “a monster game”.

Blackett, who has given his squad a few days off following their dramatic victory by 31-29 in the British and Irish Cup against Ulster Ravens in Belfast on Friday, today begins his planning for the Yorkshire derby at Headingley.

“There were a lot of pleasing things about our win in Belfast, but we also have lots to work on,” says Blackett.

“I can’t praise enough the professional approach of the squad. The game could have gone either way. We put in an excellent performance, but now the emphasis is on the league game in Leeds.”

Rotherham, who find out today the extent of the rib injury to skipper and second row Tom Holmes, won a thrilling Cup match in the last minute thanks to a conversion by fly half James McKinney, returning home to Belfast to play against his former club: “Our boys deserve massive credit and I naturally had mixed emotions playing against my home team,” explained McKinney.

“But it was nice to get the win and it was good in the long term interests of Rotherham that Barney Maddison(forward), who has been out so long because of injury, came on for the last 10 minutes.

“What was also good was that our younger players impressed. Flanker Max Argyle carried the ball well and scrum half Zylon McGaffin got the ball away quickly and played at a high tempo.

“Carnegie will be on a high after thrashing Aberavon 85-0 in the B&I Cup, and when we beat them in the cup at Scarborough that really boosted our morale.

“But that wasn’t Carnegie’s league side and the team they’ll put out next month will be stronger and better. It will be a different kettle of fish and a big challenge.

“We will need to front up physically but Rotherham have had three wins on the trot in the Cup, we are confident, we have momentum and have been playing effective rugby,” adds McKinney.