ROTHERHAM TITANS: Bullish Bester as Titans create good impression

Stopped: Titans Latu Makaafi is tackled against Sheffield Tigers.                                             Picture: ian anderson
Stopped: Titans Latu Makaafi is tackled against Sheffield Tigers. Picture: ian anderson
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Rotherham Titans coach Andre Bester, whose Championship squad has won their first two pre-season friendlies against Hull Ionians and Sheffield Tigers, says he’s delighted with the progress being made at Clifton Lane.

Bester, now preparing his players for their next game at Macclesfield next Wednesday, said: “I am happy where we are at the moment. We are in a better position than we were at the same period last year.

“The game at Sheffield Tigers was a good and worthwhile exercise. I thought Tigers were very committed.”

A decent crowd of more than 400 at Dore Moor watched the clash between the National Two side and the Championship club who begin their campaign at London Scottish on Sunday, September 2.

Although Tigers were well beaten 57-12 and let in nine tries, the Sheffield team scored two tries and set up threatening positions on the Rotherham line.

Bester used the game to give opportunities to several players who had not played at Hull Ionians at the weekend.

One player who made a strong impression was second row Toby Freeman who has joined Rotherham from Spanish club Ampo Ordizia.

The forward, who started his pro career at Penryn in Cornwall, has also played for Cornish Pirates and Exeter Chiefs and is regarded as an excellent acquisition.

Another of Bester’s new signings who performed well against Sheffield Tigers was scrum half Chris Mulchrone, recruited from Macclesfield.

Once the Championship season is underway next month, the choice for the scrum half position will be between Mulchrone and Jimmy Williams, now starting his second year at Clifton Lane.

What is also apparent from the pre-season games is the solid form of new backs’ player/coach Michael Whitehead, the former Rotherham captain, who has returned to the club after spells at Esher and Doncaster Knights.

In the long season ahead, Bester is fortunate that he has a player of Whitehead’s proven Championship quality if fly halves Garry Law and James McKinney were to be injured.

Whitehead can also play at full back in a Rotherham back line which has looked dangerous in pre-season; in particular winger Peter Homan who scored four tries at Hull Ionians.

Picture special and Tigers focus in tomorrow’s Grassroots.