As soon as Rotherham’s coach Mark Jones arrives at Clifton Lane this morning after the long drive from his home in Neath, South Wales, he’ll begin the inquiry into what went so wrong against Jersey.
The Titans’ shock loss at home by four tries to none surprised everyone.
Jones and his forwards coach Steve Salvin saw their pack outplayed by their Jersey opposite numbers who were far more effective and aggressive.What will also concern them is that Rotherham, losing 22-6 at the interval, created so few scoring opportunities as they attempted to recover after conceding three tries in the opening 40 minutes.
This was without question Rotherham’s poorest performance at Clifton Lane this season.
The defeat leaves them in sixth place in the Championship on 26 points-10 points behind rivals Doncaster Knights, who have shot up to second, and eight points adrift of Yorkshire Carnegie, third in the league.
As Jones said: “I’m hoping this was just a bad day at the office. It’s very frustrating because we didn’t see it coming. We were a long way off where we needed to be to be able to compete against a side like Jersey.
“I was surprised how poor we were in combating Jersey’s threats. We were second best and Jersey’s physicality was so much better.
“What’s important is that we learn the lessons and now we must be well prepared for the next game and make sure we turn up at London Scottish on Saturday. I am sure harsh words will be spoken when we meet today.”
Skipper Tom Holmes has promised that Rotherham will produce a much improved performance in London where Rotherham need to win in such a close league to revive their play-off hopes.
Weak defence was responsible for Jersey’s first try on six minutes, and then pure luck enable them to add a second on 19 minutes when the ball bounced off the head of a Rotherham defender.
Instantly, Jersey centre Fautua Otto picked it up and scored under the posts. Worse was to come just after the half hour when the Titans lost possession allowing winger Tom Howe to touch down after the ball had been kicked through.
Rotherham were now losing 22-3 and a hint of an improvement came as fly half Ross Jones struck his second penalty, but the Titans seldom suggested that they were capable of producing a fightback.
Jersey defended stubbornly to stop any Roth progress and the Channel Islanders confirmed their impressive victory by scoring a fourth try on 55 minutes.
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Rath, Hayes, Barker, Wilson, Jones, Davies, Hislop, C.Maddison, Thiede, Holmes, B.Maddison, Calladine, Birch, Argyle.
Replacements: Crane, Cromie, Tampin, Salmon,Oram, White, Goodwin.
Scorer: Jones: Penalties 2.
Referee: John Meredith.