Rotherham’s remarkable 22-21 away win over Newcastle Titans was by no means an accident and confirmed the promise revealed the previous weekend against Northampton Saints.
With the Championship starting a week on Saturday at London Scottish, Rotherham can be highly satisfied with their pre-season form: seven tries against two clubs from the Premiership.
Following four tries at Northampton, Rotherham scored another three against Newcastle: tries on 5, 32 and 55 minutes by backs Curtis Wilson, James Broadley and Sean Scanlon.
Ulster fly half James McKinney, once again confirming his class in the number 10 shirt, also put over two conversions and a penalty on 64 minutes which stretched the Titans’ lead to 22-12.
The Falcons never led and while the former Rotherham star, Juan Pablo Socino, scored a cracking try and struck two conversions, the Titans’ defence withstood several assaults towards their line.
Newcastle did score three tries and almost broke through at the end, but Rotherham’s tackling was strong and swift.
It looked as if the first half ear injury to hooker Tom Cruse might cause him to miss the London Scottish clash, but he should now be fit to resume his place in a Rotherham pack that needs to improve at the scrum and line-outs from which possession must increase.
Rotherham are also giving too many penalties away, but there are many plus-points including the performance and skill of the back row, Ben Morris, Jack Preece,Ali Birch and Alex Rieder, and the encouraging form of second rows Tom Holmes and Perry Parker.
Coach Lee Blackett was not only delighted with the result, the first time a Rotherham side have won away at a Premiership ground: “I’m really proud of the boys. They put everything into it and their spirit was fantastic. They put their bodies on the line and worked extremely hard for each other.”