Match report: Leeds Carnegie 24 Rotherham Titans 7

Rotherham Titans
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Rotherham failed to deliver for the second time this season in the Yorkshire derby against Leeds in the Championship during a disappointing performance in which they never recovered from being 16-0 at half time.

Leeds thoroughly deserved to win the clash at Headingley, winning by two tries to one in a contest in which Rotherham were outplayed in the first half.

The Titans, though, improved considerably in the second half and scored an excellent try by skipper and full back Garry Law on 64 minutes.

His try followed a fine build-up during which the pack maintained possession for several phases.Fly half James McKinney and winger Eamonn Sheridan combined to create Law’s opportunity which he grasped.

The Scotsman then put over a top class conversion from an awkward angle on the touchline, a kick which cut the Leeds line to 19-5.

A flat and almost lifeless first half display by Rotherham, whose line out was ineffective, proved costly. The referee may have been rather harsh on them and this set up the Leeds goal kicker, fly half Rory Clegg, to show his accuracy.

Clegg hit the target three times with penalties before the break and then once in the second half to give Leeds a convincing lead of 19-0 on 52 minutes.

One of the few highlights in a Rotherham effort that was surprisingly mediocre was an outstanding break on 32 minutes by scrum half Charlie Mulchrone, who ran 40 metres up field.

Only three minutes later, Mulchrone was terrorising the Leeds defence again after the Rotherham forwards won a scrum on their opponents’ line. The scrum half dashed forward and appeared to have scored a thrilling try but the referee decided that Mulchrone had been held up and had not grounded the ball properly.

If the try had been allowed, the atmosphere of the contest would have been transformed, but as it turned out, Rotherham were well beaten by a side which may well go and contest the promotion play-offs.

Towards the end of the second half, replacement scrum half Jimmy Williams broke through a gap in the Leeds defence on 71 minutes to hint at the possibility of a second Rotherham try, but quick and solid defence by Leeds turned the ball over, so the scoring chance disappeared.

What contributed to Rotherham’s downfall was weak tackling which was responsible for both the Leeds tries on five and 79 minutes.

Winger Michael Doneghan failed to stop flanker Chris Walker as he sprinted to the line and then with just a minute remaining, McKinney repeated Doneghan’s error when he failed to prevent Leeds full back Steve McColl crossing as the hosts completed the double over the Titans.

The Titans’ next match in the league is a week on Wednesday at Clifton Lane against Cornish Pirates, kick-off 5.15 pm.