Rotherham Titans 59
Plymouth Albion 26
As Rotherham prepare for their toughest challenge so far this season in the Championship against league leaders Newcastle Falcons on Tyneside this Friday evening, they boosted their confidence with an excellent performance at Clifton Lane against Plymouth in the British and Irish Cup.
Titans crushed Albion by nine tries to four in an overwhelming display of running rugby described by many fans as the best they have seen at home for 10 years. It was revenge for a 15-3 defeat against Albion three weeks ago.
As coach Andre Bester ponders which match 22 to pick to tackle the clear favourites for promotion back to the Premiership, he may well consider several players who stood out as Rotherham completed a consecutive win the Cup.
In the pack, fowards Toby Freeman and Dan Sanderson stood out as did Bester’s son, hooker Jan François and the back row of Nile Dacres, Joe Ellyatt and Rory Pitman also shone.
In an all-round impressive effort, four first half tries followed by another five in the second, Rotherham ran and handled the ball superbly.
The support play was exceptional, too, and with the forwards dominating possession and territory after a weak start, the tries flowed.
Rotherham led 28-14 at the interval as Scottish winger winger Mike Doneghan completed a hat-trick with scores on 17, 36 and 40 minutes.
As well as Doneghan’s significant contribution, Albion also suffered from the power of Irish centre Eamonn Sheridan.
Having been moved from the wing, Sheridan’s size and speed grabbed two tries in two minutes to increase Rotherham’s lead to 40-14.
The Titans’ authority, seldom questioned although Plymouth did break through four times, was enhanced once again by the accurate goal kicking of fly half James McKinney who struck seven conversions.
As Bester looks ahead to the rest of the Championship and Cup campaign, he will have been delighted with the home debuts of the Mulchrone brothers.
Fergus, who played at full back, scored a thrilling try after an exciting break by his brother Charlie, appearing at scrum half.
The first Mulchrone try came on 19 minutes and then to round off a memorable afternoon for the family, Charlie scored on 52 minutes following a charge to the Plymouth line by Freeman.
“They are good players and they have something about them,” says Bester.
“I’m pleased for them because they have had lots of setbacks in their careers.Hopefully, Fergus and Charlie can now stay injury free and step up.”
Rotherham’s squad for the Newcastle game on Friday night will be strengthened by the return from injury of influential players Garry Law, Dan Baines, Peter Homan and Shane Cahill.
However, Bester will not be able to select Palepoi Nonu, Barney Maddison, Neale Patrick and Latu Makaafi who remain injured.
Rotherham Titans: F Mulchrone, Styles, Sheridan, Blackett, Doneghan, McKinney, C Mulchrone, Gadd, Bester, Denman, Freeman, Sanderson, Dacres, Ellyatt, Pitman. Reps: Stagg, Davies, Kilbane, Kirwan, Rieder, Gill, Williams.
Scorers - tries: Doneghan (3), Sheridan (2), F Mulchrone, C Mulchrone, Stagg, Blackett; coversions: McKinney (7).
Referee: Johanne van der Merwe.