Rotherham Titans have been given the toughest of quarter final ties in the British and Irish Cup by being drawn against cup holders Leinster in the new year.
The Irish provincial team, based in Dublin, have won the B&I Cup for the last two seasons and finished the pool section of the competition by scoring nine tries to beat Plymouth 59-26 at the weekend.
So if Rotherham are to reach the semi finals, they’ll have to cause a major upset at Clifton Lane on Saturday January 24.
“We’ve been given a formidable challenge and it’s going to be very difficult, but we have to be proud because for the first time Rotherham have a home tie in the quarter finals,” says Titans’ coach Lee Blackett.
“Leinster are the best team left in the competition and we’ve got to be excited about playing them at home.
“I’d like to see a crowd of 2,000 at Clifton Lane for such an important game in the club’s history.
“Our supporters have been great this season, but we’ll have a better chance of beating Leinster if we have well over 1,000 fans backing us at home.
“So I’d like to appeal to our loyal fans and others to make an even bigger effort to get to Clifton Lane to give the team every opportunity to make it a memorable occasion.”
Leinster, like Rotherham, won their pool by winning five games out of six.
Though clearly the cup holders are the favourites to retain the British and Irish Cup, they are not infallible.
Surprisingly, they lost to Welsh club Carmarthen by 26-24, but as Leinster develop some of the best young talent in Ireland, Rotherham can expect the hardest of tests.
The Titans’ Irish players, Ali Birch, James McKinney, Michael Keating, Sean Scanlon, Will Ryan and Adam Macklin will, in particular, be looking forward to the Leinster visit.
The Titans have one game left in 2014, hosting Moseley on Boxing Day.