Rugby Union: New Titans recruit poised for home debut

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Forward Tom Holmes, who is on loan at Rotherham from Premiership club Sale Sharks, makes his full debut for the Titans in tomorrow’s Championship clash against Plymouth at Clifton Lane.

The 24-year-old second row forward, who appeared earlier this season in the three Premiership games for the Sharks, joined Rotherham on loan last month until the end of the league campaign.

Holmes came on as a replacement in the recent Championship matches against Bristol and Nottingham.

Titans coach Lee Blackett said: “Tom has played more than 20 times for Sale Sharks in all competitions so he’s experienced and all the boys here have a lot of respect for him. The Plymouth game is a good opportunity for Tom to make an impact from the start.

“ We must concentrate for the whole 80 minutes and our defence will need to be alert all the time against a Plymouth side who can be dangerous.”

Blackett has made only three changes to the side which thrashed Nottingham by 51-7 a fortnight ago. As he rotates players in the pack, Holmes starts in place of Josh Thomas-Brown, hooker Tom Cruse comes in for Ben Sowrey and prop Marshall Gadd replaces Robin Hislop.

Rotherham, fourth in the Championship behind Leeds, London Welsh and leaders Bristol, now have only five league games remaining to guarantee a place in the promotion play-offs.

After tomorrow’s match against Plymouth, Rotherham take on Bedford, Cornish Pirates, Leeds and, finally, Ealing at the end of April.

Plymouth, seventh in the Championship with six wins and 11 defeats, are probably a better side than their record suggests, and in winger Tom Bowen, who has scored 12 league tries, they have a match-winning player.