Rugby union: Titans hope to keep Pearce at Clifton Lane

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As Rotherham’s coach, Alex Codling, takes charge of his last Championship game against London Scottish at Clifton Lane tomorrow, the Titans are increasingly hopeful that one of their most promising players, forward Laurence Pearce, will remain at the club next season.

Pearce, who was prevented from playing until February because of injury, has made a strong impact in the few games in which he has appeared. His power, strength and size were evident in the British and Irish Cup and when Pearce played in the league last week against Cornish Pirates, he scored two tries.

Pearce has been quick to make an impression and with other Championship sides looking to strengthen their squads for next season, Rotherham were keen to extend his contract.

Another deal has been offered and it seems certain that Pearce will sign it next week which means that the Titans have already recruited 20 players for next season.

However, it is understood that Rotherham are still searching for a new forwards’ coach; several candidates have been contacted but so far none has agreed to come to Clifton Lane.

Interestingly,three of the players who are likely to be in Codling’s squad for the London Scottish match will be playing in a Titans’ shirt for the last time because they will be playing for Rotherham’s opponents next season.

Forwards Ted Stagg and Jamie Kilbane are joining Scottish as are wingers Mike Doneghan and Peter Homan who is still injured.

Having won their last two league games against Cornish Pirates and Moseley,Codling,who has agreed to assist London club Rosslyn Park next season,has the opportunity to finish the campaign in style with three consecutive victories.

Codling’s expertise as a forwards’ coach will be missed at Rotherham which makes it essential that a well qualified successor is appointed to replace him.

It is thought that the name of the new head coach will be announced shortly;Lee Blackett,who has been acting as Codling’s assistant,is the favourite to take over but if he does,it seems that Blackett’s playing days will be over as he will concentrate on coaching and trying to keep the Titans in the Championship next season.

Rotherham: Styles, Doneghan, Sheridan, Blackett, Nonu, Wilson, McKinney, Mulchrone, Gadd, Stagg, Denman, Patrick, Sanderson, Makaafi, Ellyatt, Rieder, Pearce, Hannan, Davies, Thomas, Williams, Thomson.

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