RUGBY UNION: Bester’s future in doubt

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Speculation over the position of the Rotherham Titans’ coach, Andre Bester, is growing as the Clifton Lane club today holds a crisis meeting to discuss his future.

It is understood that Bester, now in his third season at Rotherham since his reappointment in the spring of 2010 following two earlier seasons from 2005-07, is facing another disciplinary hearing which may result in his dismissal.

It is also understood that today’s disciplinary meeting is not the only one which has been held where Bester’s conduct and future have been discussed by the directors.

One of the controversies which has provoked disagreement between senior officials and Bester is the way the South African dealt with the ex-forwards coach, Ben Wade, who no longer has any involvement with the first team.

The latest instability at Titans could not come at a worse time for the players.

This Saturday, Titans take on Doncaster Knights in the South Yorkshire derby at Clifton Lane, the most important home match of the Championship season.

Until the outcome of today’s meeting is clear, it is not known who will prepare the Rotherham team for Saturday’s big game.

Since Bester’s future has been open to question, the club have received many calls from agents who handle the affairs of coaches willing to take over at one of English rugby’s top 24 clubs.

One name which has arisen as a potential successor is Alex Codling, who has coached at several professional clubs including London Scottish, London Welsh, Barking, Cardiff and Ebbw Vale.

Codling, 39, was capped once by England in 2002 against Argentina; he is currently head of sport at a school at Shirley near Croydon.

Meanwhile, Rotherham’s injury crisis worsens. Fly half James McKinney badly injured his ankle against Newcastle Falcons on Friday evening where the Titans lost 33-0 to the promotion favourites.

McKinney will be out of action or several weeks; his absence is a major blow because not only has the Ulsterman excelled with his accurate goal kicking in the Championship and the British and Irish Cup, but also with his all round game.

Under Bester so far this season, Rotherham have won three league games, lost three and drawn one and sit mid-table in the Championship and have won both their ties in the Cup.