Rotherham Titans were surprisingly thrashed in a one sided contest at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford where they lost the leadership of the Championship as the Titans were beaten by seven tries to one, 47-16.
The Clifton Lane club were outclassed at times by stronger opponents, but given their potential Rotherham still have ability to finish the Championship campaign in the top four and reach the promotion play-offs.
Despite this heavy defeat, Titans remain in the top four, and they have an early opportunity to bounce back this Saturday against London Scottish at Clifton Lane.
This loss was only the fourth in 15 games, but coach Lee Blackett will not want a repeat of the poor defending that let in four tries in the first half and then another three in the second.
Rotherham concededtwo tries in the opening eight minutes and after little more than half an hour, they were losing by 26-9.
Three penalties on 10,14 and 26 minutes by centre Juan Pablo Socino kept them in the game but only to a limited extent. But with the Welsh pack controlling ball and territory, as they did throughout, Rotherham could not make any progress.
As the second half unfolded, an improvement did appear but it could not be sustained, although late on, replacement prop forward, Marshall Gadd did barge his way over the Welsh line on 78 minutes.
The appearance of Gadd,for his first game since November, and the come-back of fly half Garry Law, playing his first game of the season, were promising points for Rotherham.
Attacks in the second half from forwards Alex Rieder and replacement hooker Tom Cruse and backs Dallan Murphy, Charlie Mulchrone and Socino were too few and far between.
Blackett was, not surprisingly, downbeat: “ We had a bad day at the office and we are bitterly disappointed.”