ROTHERHAM TITANS: Ben and Dan to lead Titans’ charge at Bedford

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Rotherham’s new signing, second row forward Ben Thomas, will make his Championship debut for the Titans on Boxing Day against Bedford Blues at Goldington Road.

Thomas, 24, who played the last 10 minutes in the draw against Munster in the British and Irish Cup, has previously played for London Welsh, Barking and London Scottish where Rotherham’s coach Alex Codling took charge of the forwards.

The Titans’ chances of causing an upset against Bedford, second in the Championship, have been boosted by the return from injury of hooker Dan Baines, but Codling has been forced to make a change at the back of the scrum because of a rib injury to Rory Pitman.

The Welsh forward will be out for around a month.

Codling has been successful again in his attempts to strengthen the squad, and his latest recruit, winger Ben Howard, who has been signed on loan from Worcester Warriors, has been picked for the party travelling to Bedford. Howard, who has appeared in the England 20 squad, can also play at full back.

Codling will not make any more signings before Christmas but is confident that new faces will be at Clifton Lane early in January.

“Going into the Bedford match we can take a lot of confidence down there because of our good performance in Cork” explains Rotherham’s coach.

“Since taking over at Rotherham I’ve been pleased with the work ethic of the players. They were terrific against Munster.

“Bedford will pose a massive challenge and it is a big test but we will give it a real go.”

As Rotherham showed against Munster, they can defend effectively; just as well as they will be put under much pressure at Goldington Road because Bedford attack from anywhere. Indeed, they have scored 49 tries compared to only 27 by the Titans; Bedford’s biggest threat comes from their back line which has scored 29 tries, twice more than Rotherham’s.

Bedford are a dangerous side, and in former Rotherham centre Brendan Burke and Canadian full back and goal kicker, James Pritchard, the Blues possess two match winners.

Titans: Law, F.Mulchrone, Homan, Blackett, Sheridan, McKinney, C.Mulchrone, Gadd, Baines, Davies, Thomas, Sanderson,Makaafi, Kirwan, Freeman.

Reps: Denman, Hannon, Rieder, Ellyatt, Williams, Howard, Nonu.