Rotherham Titans 21
Rotherham’s new coach Alex Codling is expecting to announce a new signing for the Titans’ pack tomorrow and in another move to strengthen the side, he is also hopeful of recruiting a second fresh forward before Christmas.
After losing to the best side in the British and Irish Cup and being defeated by the holders, Codling now prepares for the return fixture against the Irish champions in Cork on Friday. Rotherham’s defeat, their first in the Cup, occurred during a competitive game in which the Titans emerged with credit.
Considering that Munster are the most outstanding team that Titans have faced in any competition this season, to lose by five tries to two is no disgrace.
Indeed, at half time, Rotherham were behind by only 15-14 having scored a thrilling try by scrum half Jimmy Williams and three penalties and a conversion by fly half James McKinney. However, hopes of a shock win crumbled in the second half after forward Dan Sanderson was shown a yellow card for punching.
In his 10 minutes’ absence, Munster, who would probably win the Championship, made certain of a third successive win.
Two converted tries on 60 and 64 mins stretched their lead to 36-14 and given their determination to retain the British and Irish Cup, they were never going to let the advantage go. Rotherham, though, continued to be competitive and thanks to their pack created several threatening positions.
This commitment was rewarded on 75 minutes as the referee decided that Munster’s forwards had offended too often. The award of a penalty try, converted by McKinney, produced a scoreline that reflected the more enterprising style of play which Codling is introducing.
“It’s not often when you lose that you can say there are a lot of positives,” said Codling. “We were competitive in the first half and some of our handling was excellent. However, the sin bin killed us. Once you give away 14 points to a quality side you are in trouble. Munster are of the highest quality and I will pick our strongest squad for the return match. We have to address the penalty count; it’s too high.”
A promising debut was made by flanker George Oliver, on loan from Leicester Tigers and also in the pack Nile Dacres put in a solid effort.
TITANS: F Mulchrone, Homan, Gill, Nonu, Styles, McKinney, Williams, Cahill, Stagg, Denman, Freeman, Dacres, Makaafi, Ellyatt, Pitman. Reps: Gadd, Davies, Sanderson, Rieder, Oliver, Law, C Mulchrone. Tries: Williams, penalty. Conversion: McKinney. Pens: McKinney 3.