Rotherham Titans have suffered a major blow before Friday’s big Championship clash against Nottingham which may decide which of the clubs reaches the promotion play-offs by finishing in the top four.
Fly half James McKinney is out for the season with a leg injury which he suffered at Clifton Lane during last Saturday’s derby against Doncaster Knights. McKinney, Rotherham’s top points’ scorer with more than 150, is one of the team’s most influential players and a proven match winner. His role will be taken over by Tom Barrett who is another consistent goal kicker but without regular first team appearances.
“At crucial moments Tom has proved himself. He put over the penalty which won the game against Doncaster and also did well in the Championship match against Bedford and in the British & Irish Cup games” says Titans’ coach Lee Blackett.
Meanwhile, Blackett is relieved that another two significant players-winger Michael Keating and centre Jordan Davies-have re-signed for next season. The squad for the 2015-16 campaign has also been strengthened by the recruitment of one of the best young forwards in Wales, hooker Darran Harris from Scarlets who has also been playing for Llanelli while on loan from the Guinness Pro 12 club.
“Darran is a top class player who can go on to play in the Premiership. He will be a star performer in the Championship next season. The fact that Keating and Davies are remaining here shows this group of players wants to stay together” says Blackett.
Rotherham’s chances of beating Nottingham near Trent Bridge tonight have been increased by the return of second row forward Sean Robinson and number eight Ben Morris. Hooker Tom Cruse, who started on the bench against Doncaster, is also back in the starting line up.
and skippers the side.
Nottingham who are fifth in the Championship and just one point behind Rotherham in fourth place.
“Nottingham are a good side, they have dangerous attacking players and are strong in the forwards with a decent scrum and line out.
“We are feeling very positive. The mood is good in our camp and the only problem we have had this week in training is that we have had one day fewer to prepare because we are playing on a Friday,” adds Blackett.
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Wilson, Hayes,J.Davies, Keating, Barrett, White, Hislop, Cruse, Tampin, Maddison, Robinson, Rieder, Preece, Morris.
Replacements: Dunn, Williams, Thiede, Thomas, Birch, A.Davies, Cooke.