Slick Titans scrum undone

Rotherham Titans v London Welsh'Thomas Cruse breaks a tackle
Rotherham Titans v London Welsh'Thomas Cruse breaks a tackle
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As they begin looking at the match video today and asking themselves what went wrong, Rotherham must not become too despondent following their 32-27 defeat by London Welsh who have taken over from the Titans at the top of the Championship by one point.

Rotherham scored four outstanding tries at Clifton Lane, taking their tally to 23 in four league games, and came close to beating the side which competed in the Premiership last season and are favourites to return.

However, despite the tries by winger Curtis Wilson, centre Socino, flanker Ali Birch and full-back Michael Keating, they still lost and will be justifiably disappointed to have earned only two points and not five.

Rotherham smashed London Welsh’s defence three times in the opening 12 minutes of the game.

The Titans were destroyed in the scrum by the powerful London Welsh forwards, but their pace, slick handling and ability to create scoring opportunities more than compensated.

Rotherham set up a match-winning position and led by 20-10 after 25 minutes and then by 27-19 on 45 minutes once Socino’s excellent conversion from the touchline of Keating’s try had gone over.

Welsh won because they kicked their penalties, six of them.

Rotherham’s weakness in the scrum forced the referee, rightly or wrongly, to penalise them seven times, plus on another five occasions for other offences.

Welsh could not match Rotherham’s creativity or speed, but when presented with kickable goals, they accepted their chances.

The former Leeds and Scotland fly-half, Gordon Ross, kicked four penalties and, crucially, Alex Davies, put over two on 67 ad 77 minutes to win a match they should have lost.

The turning point came on 64 minutes when Rotherham lost possession after being awarded a penalty they should have put into touch.

Instead, they took a quick tap and a pass was intercepted resulting in a try for centre Tom May. With Ross converting, Rotherham were now leading only 27-26.

Having handed over the initiative, Rotherham then made two more mistakes and were punished by Davies whose successful kicks ensured the Titans’ first defeat in four league matches.

“ You can’t expect to concede so many penalties and win,” said Rotherham skipper and scrum-half Charlie Mulchrone. “But the performance showed the character of the boys.”

Titans: Keating, Broadley, Gill, Socino, Wilson, Murphy, Mulchrone, Gadd, Cruse, Quigley, Thomas, Sanderson, Williamson, Birch, Pearce. Reps: Sowery, Tampin, Dias, Maddison, Preece, White, Roberts.

Scorers:Tries: Wilson, S ocino, Birch, Keating. Conversions: Socino 2. Penalty: Socino.

Referee: Tom Foley.