Rugby: Yorkshire clash to test Rotherham Titans’ mettle

Sean Scanlon
Sean Scanlon
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Rotherham’s credibility as a serious force in the Championship faces the toughest of tests on Sunday against Yorkshire Carnegie at Headingley where the Titans must recover their form after four consecutive defeats.

Losing in the league to Jersey and London Scottish and defeats in the British and Irish Cup by Moseley have raised questions as to why the squad, which reached the play-offs last season, has failed to reach its potential this season.

However, coach Mark Jones is confident about the long term: “ We are not far away from where we need to be and while confidence has been dented a little, morale is high. Our discipline on the pitch is good, but we must cut out the errors that have cost us recent games. Yorkshire Carnegie are a good side and are strong in the scrums and line outs.

“They are not though a one trick pony and have a back line with a cutting edge.”

Rotherham, who have dropped to seventh in the Championship, will recall full back Sean Scanlon who missed Sunday’s narrow defeat at Clifton Lane, and Australian number eight, Tim Cree, should also return to the squad. In the absence of winger Curtis Wilson, who broke an ankle against Moseley, Michael Keating is expected to retain his place against a Carnegie squad that have taken the Leeds club to third in the league.

It will be fascinating to see if Kevin Sinfield,who enjoyed a great career at Leeds before changing codes, is picked from the start on Sunday.

Since switching to union at aged 35, Sinfield has made six appearances for Yorkshire Carnegie scoring 40 points, eight conversions and eight penalties. Considering Sinfield’s outstanding record-almost 4,000 points in 521 games for Leeds it would not be a surprise if he were to play a decisive role.

Rotherham Titans from: Scanlon, Jones, Keating, Hayes,Barker,Rath, McKinney,Davies, Carter, White,Hislop, C.Maddison, Tampin, Thiede, Cromie, Holmes, B.Maddison, Salmon, Oram, Calladine, Gilmour, Birch, Argyle,Cree, Crane.