Rotherham Titans ended their poor Championship season with a shocking result and performance as they were convincingly beaten by seven tries to two.
Coach Justin Burnell, who has saved the club from relegation, had appealed to his players to finish the season on a high note; instead this embarrassin effort, Rotherham’s 14th defeat in 22 league games, not only let him down but also the fans who had travelled to Vallis Way.
Now Titans are expected to make around 25 new signings to report back for training in six weeks as Burnell promises a new beginning.
Only six players from the current squad are remaining: backs Will Owen, Joe Barker, Will Robinson and Will Goodwin, and forwards Toby Williams and Toby Salmon.
So the scale and the extent of the rebuilding Burnell has put together is vast, and by all accounts he has recruited a competitive squad, and in circumstances that are difficult, certainly when it comes to budgets.
For example, Burnell has to compete for players with a Championship club like Ealing whose budget next season is going to be a staggering £1.2m-and while other league clubs may not have Ealing’s cash, several will be able to spend more than Rotherham.
Titans completed the season with just eight wins in the Championship, producing 38 points, and by finishing 10th, only two teams were below them-relegated Moseley and Ealing.
One priority must be to close the gap that has opened up between themselves and Doncaster Knights, who finished second on 79 points, may still go on to win the promotion play-offs, and amaze and shock English rugby by gaining a place in the Premiership.
Rotherham Titans: Jones, Keating, J. Hayes, Owen, L.Hayes, Robinson, Carter, Williams, Harris, Thiede, Sinclair, Maddison, Argyle, Birch, Ryan. Replacements: Edgson, Cromie, Elliot, Redfern, Preece, White, Barker.
Tries: Preece, Edgson. Conversion: Jones.
Referee: Fergus Kirby.