Rotherham Titans’ injury crisis is worsening and several major players will miss tonight’s Championship clash against league leaders Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park.
The latest forward who will now be out of action for at least six weeks is number eight Rory Pitman.
The Welshman seriously injured his eye socket in last Saturday’s British and Irish Cup tie against Plymouth Albion. Pitman’s injury is both a personal and a team blow but it is by no means the only set-back for the Titans.
It has also been confirmed that lock forward Barney Maddison will be out for the rest of the season - he needs a knee operation.
Coach Andre Bester may now need to bring in new players to cover for the latest injuries if the club’s ambition of finishing in the top four of the Championship is to be achieved.
As a result of the absentees, two Rotherham players make their Championship debuts against Newcastle who have won all their six league games and are favourites to return to the Premiership after only one season out of the top league.
Fergus Mulchrone starts at full back after impressing last weekend against Plymouth and in the pack, flanker Nile Dacres begins in the back row alongside Carl Kirwan and Alex Rieder.
Despite the injuries, Rotherham’s forwards should be competitive against Newcastle, and although the second row of Toby Freeman and Dan Sanderson will be facing far tougher opponents than last week’s, this pair are capable of winning ball and taking it on. Coached by Dean Richards, the former England and Leicester star, Newcastle are fortunate to possess one of the finest goal kickers in world rugby; fly half Jimmy Gopperth.
The New Zealander, who excelled in the Premiership, has taken the Championship by storm.
Gopperth is the league’s leading points’ scorer on 109: three tries, 26 conversions and 14 penalties.