Rotherham Titans 20 Jersey 20: Indiscipline the key as Titans are held

Max Argyle was outstanding in the Rotherham pack
Max Argyle was outstanding in the Rotherham pack
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Rotherham’s indiscipline, which had proved to be so costly recently, shows no sign of getting any better as the chances of reaching the play-offs fade.

Yellow cards against winger Curtis Wilson, who has already been banned this season, and fly half James McKinney, contributed significantly to this failure to beat a highly competitive Jersey side which fully deserved to share the points.

In the absence of Wilson and McKinney, Jersey scored two converted tries in the second half - 14 points - and at one stage with a lead of 17-10, it looked as if Rotherham were heading for a third defeat on the trot.

The fact they managed to earn two points, which keep Rotherham in fifth place in the Championship, was down to the determination of the Titans’ pack in which forwards Max Argyle, Alex Rieder and Ben Morris were outstanding.

As Rotherham prepare to take on one of the promotion favourites, Worcester Warriors at Sixways on Saturday, not only will they require self-discipline, but also the spirit and fire shown by the pack that produced the fight-back against the Channel Islanders.

As the Titans increased the pressure, Argyle’s first half try was followed by the award of a penalty try on 67 minutes, and with McKinney’s second conversion, Rotherham seized a slim lead of 20-17.

The momentum in the closest of contests seemed to be now with Titans who had enjoyed more than enough possession and territory to have confirmed a much needed victory to keep alive their ambition of a top four place.

However, with about 10 minutes of normal time remaining, they conceded another penalty which allowed Jersey full back Aaron Penberthy to demonstrate his kicking skills again.

His fourth successful goal on 70 minutes levelled the scores at 20-20, so an exciting climax to an entertaining encounter had been set up.

A thrilling run down the wing by Wilson, who has so many strengths when he is on the field, almost delivered what could have been a match-winning score, but Rotherham lost control of the ball when Argyle, in support, knocked on.

Rieder and Argyle again threatened in raids towards Jersey’s posts, but, as before, the visitors’ defence was solid.

Titans have themselves only to blame for this failure to win, but this display was a big improvement on the poor effort at Plymouth.

In the centres, Mark Cooke, making his debut following his move from Bristol, looks to have potential and Jordan Davies, on his return to the team, took his kicking opportunities skilfully putting over an important penalty and a drop goal.

Rotherham now have eight Championship games left to regain the form which took them to the play-offs last season.

Titans: Scanlon, Keating, Davies, Cooke, Wilson, McKinney, White, Hislop, Cruse, Thiede, Maddison, Holmes, Argyle, Rieder, Morris.

Replacements: Preece, Williams, Tampin, Ryan, Hayes, Barrett, Broadley.

Tries: Argyle,penalty.

Conversions: McKinney 2.

Penalty: Davies.

Drop goal: Davies.

Referee: Matthew O’Grady.