Rugby Union: Titans handed tough start to new promotion push

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Rotherham Titans have the toughest of starts to the new Championship season with consecutive away league games at London Scottish and Bedford during the first two weeks in September.

The clashes that will excite the most interest among rugby fans in South Yorkshire will be the derby games against newly promoted Doncaster Knights.

The first derby is at Castle Park on the first weekend in January with the return fixture at Clifton Lane on Saturday April 11.

Rotherham travel to Leeds’ newly renamed Yorkshire Carnegie in November before welcoming the Headingley club in February.

“I’ve told my players that I never look further ahead than one game at a time and at this stage my entire focus is on the first game at London Scottish who’ve recruited well,” says Titans’ coach Lee Blackett.

“The Championship is the hardest of leagues but when we are at home for the first time against Plymouth for the third game, it will be great for our new players to experience the fantastic support we get.

“We started pre-season training this week. The emphasis is not on the fixture list but on getting in the right condition to start the season successfully.

“I believe we have a very competitive squad. Twenty players are back from last season and the 16 who have joined will make us stronger.”

As well as the traditional Yorkshire games, Rotherham fans will be looking forward also to the matches against promotion favourites Worcester Warriors, relegated from the Premiership.

Three Rotherham players from last season – scrum half Charlie Mulchrone,lock forward Dan Sanderson and hooker Ben Sowrey – are now at Worcester and as the league season develops, it will be interesting to see if they are picked regularly to start in Championship games.

Rotherham’s final game in the league is at home against London Scottish in the last weekend of April; by then Blackett will be hoping to have achieved-again-a place in the top four and with that, the right to compete in the promotion play-offs in May.

ROTHERHAM TITANS 2014/15 CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES

SEPTEMBER

5/6/7 London Scottish (a)

12/13/14 Bedford Blues (a)

19/20/21 Plymouth Albion (h)

26/27/28 Jersey (a)

OCTOBER

3/4/5 Worcester Warriors (h)

NOVEMBER

7/8/9 Yorkshire Carnegie (a)

14/15/16 Cornish Pirates (h)

21/22/23 Bristol (a)

DECEMBER

19/20/21 Moseley (h)

JANUARY

2/3/4 Doncaster Knights (a)

9/10/11 Nottingham (h)

16/17/18 Bedford Blues (h)

30/31 Plymouth Albion (a)

FEBRUARY

6/7/8 Jersey (h)

13/14/15 Worcester Warriors (a)

20/21/22 Yorkshire Carnegie (h)

MARCH

6/7/8 Cornish Pirates (a)

20/21/22 Bristol (h)

27/28/29 Moseley (a)

APRIL

10/11/12 Doncaster Knights (h)

17/18/19 Nottingham (a)

25 London Scottish (h)