Rotherham’s training session this evening promises to be tougher than usual because it’s being used to prepare the first-team squad for tomorrow night’s important Championship match against Nottingham at Meadow Lane.
After making a quietly satisfactory debut in Saturday’s tie against Ayr in the British and Irish Cup, Rotherham’s new loan signing from Sale Sharks, Kiwi fly-half Matty James, may be included in the Titans squad.
James, whose brother Simeon was playing alongside him in the centre, scored his first points for his new club by kicking a penalty and a conversion.
Rotherham’s coach Andre Bester again rested his regular first-teamers for the cup game in which the Titans earned their first points.
They will not qualify for the next stages but because the Championship is the priority, no-one at Clifton Lane is too concerned.
Several of the players who hope to break into the Championship team showed their promise, not least 19-year-old winger Will du Randt, ex-Sheffield Tigers.
Revealing plenty of pace, Du Randt, born in South Africa and to study later this year at Loughborough University, took his scoring opportunities well on 16 and 46 minutes.
Another of Rotherham’s backs who seized his scoring chance was full-back Peter Swatkins.
Dashing more than 50 metres to Ayr’s line to touch down for a thrilling try,Swatkins proved once again that with the ball in hand he can be the Titans’ most threatening player.
Rotherham’s pack won plenty of ball and in a close contest against oppositionwho included Scotland back-row forward John Beattie, a class act, the Titans’ reserves gave a solid account of themselves.
With the scores level at 20-20, Ayr kicker Grant Anderson, had the simple job of kicking a match-winning penalty.
His previous attempts, mostly sliced, did not suggest there would be any improvement, but it went from bad to worse.
Embarrassingly, Anderson’s kick was again mis-hit and flew way off target.
Rotherham were relieved and earned two points from this Pool D game.
One player who will not be included in the 22 for the Nottingham game is forward David McGregor who pulled a hamstring early in the first half.
n Titans: Swatkins, Du Randt, S.James, Hunt, McMahon, M.James, Rhodes, Steenkamp, Baines, George, Harris, McGowan, Doneghan, McGregor, Dougall. Reps: Imaz, Aikman, Jackson, Wade, White, Kirby, Bradley.
n Tries: Du Randt (2), Swatkins; conversion: M. James; penalty: M. James.
n Referee: D.Newitt.