A MATCH of some significance: that is how Rotherham’s last game against Aberavon in the British and Irish Cup at Clifton Lane tomorrow is being seen by senior officials at the Titans.
While Rotherham do not have a chance of reaching the quarter finals because Munster are through, the match against Aberavon is important because coach Alex Codling is using it as an opportunity to assess several trialists.
It is a big chance for three forwards and three players in the backs to make an impression on Codling. In the pack he will be keen to see how Scottish second row Neale Patrick, who hasn’t played since September because of a back injury, and Laurence Pearce, who has been out all season with a knee injury, perform on their returns.
In the front row, Codling gives another chance to prop Rikki Stout, who has come back to Clifton Lane after playing in Spain and Macclesfield; in the backs, fly half Tom Carlisle, on loan from Worcester Warriors of the Premiership, makes his Rotherham debut as does centre Lloyd Hayes from Chester and winger Will Robinson from Hull, another trialist.
“I am really looking forward to this game because it is an important opportunity to play people who have got the potential to appear for us next season,” said Codling.
“It is an opportunity to play in a competitive game and while Rotherham have nothing to play for, several players have.
“The British and Irish Cup has been a positive experience for us this season and with three wins out of five so far, we have done well.
“Of the players on trial here, Carlisle has real talent in the number 10 shirt and as for Pearce, he has huge potential. Laurence is a big specimen and is very physical and now that his knee has recovered, he has been training hard. Another trialist whom I believe has genuine potential and ability to make an impact at this level is centre Hayes. The game is a massive one for Neale Patrick who was in the first team before I came, so it is a chance for him to show he can still perform after several months out injured.”
Rotherham will be captained by scrum half Jimmy Williams as Titans bid to hold on to second place in Pool Seven of the British and Irish Cup.