Rugby Union: Titans sign Premiership hooker

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ROTHERHAM Titans’ coach, Alex Codling, has arranged a loan deal with Premiership club Saracens which brings hooker Jarrod Saunders to Clifton Lane.

The Saracens forward starts training with Titans next Monday and will join another Premiership club player in fly half Tom Carlisle from Worcester Warriors who has been at Clifton Lane the past few days.

It is thought other players will also be brought in on loan, Rotherham having been hit by an injury crisis following serious injuries to No 8 Rory Pitman, who will miss the rest of the campaign with a broken collar bone, and full back Fergus Mulchrone who has smashed a bone in his foot. He’s also out for the season.

Codling’s attempts to persuade players to re-sign for next season have again proved successful; centre or scrum half Joel Gill, whose first team opportunities have been rare, has agreed to remain at Clifton Lane.

The Rotherham coach, meanwhile, has made several changes to the starting line-up for Sunday’s Championship game at play-off chasing Bristol where a crowd of more than 4,000 is expected at the Memorial Stadium.

Flankers Carl Kirwan and Toby Freeman, who performed well as replacements during the victory against Plymouth, are rewarded with places in the pack as his hooker Harry Hannan who starts a league game for the first time since his arrival before Christmas.

In the Rotherham front row as he rests Gareth Denman whose place goes to Ross Davies; in the back line, Lee Blackett returns to the centre.

Bristol are sixth, a place above Rotherham, and desperately keen to regain their place in the Premiership. They beat Leeds 12-9 in their last home league game.

“This is one of our toughest challenges,” says Codling. “They desperately want to end up in the top four and will want revenge for their defeat at Clifton Lane in October.

“I have taken note of the players who did outstandingly well when they came on and showed character against Plymouth.”

Titans: Law, Doneghan, Sheridan, Blackett, Homan, McKinney, Mulchrone, Gadd, Hannan, Davies, Thomas, Sanderson, Freeman, Kirwan, Rieder. Reps: Stagg, Kilbane, Denman, Ellyatt, Makaafi, Williams, Nonu.