Super show puts Titans on brink of quarter-finals

Rotherham Titans v Ulster Ravens at Clifton Lane.'Thomas Barrett tries to  get past
Rotherham Titans v Ulster Ravens at Clifton Lane.'Thomas Barrett tries to get past
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Rotherham are on the brink of again qualifying for the quarter finals of the British and Irish Cup following this first class win by seven tries to two at Clifton Lane.

With two games remaining against Aberavon on Saturday and a week later against Yorkshire Carnegie at Clifton Lane, Titans have increased their control of Pool 2 where they are top on 19 points.

Four successive wins in the B and I Cup have also boosted their chances of a home tie in the last eight and prize money of £10,000.

Rotherham did not let the disappointment of losing narrowly to Championship leaders Bristol last Sunday affect them in terms of confidence and flair.

This demolition of Ulster saw Rotherham’s attacking game at its best as forwards and backs combined successfully to score three tries in the first half and another four in the second.

While this excellent performance was a team effort, two individuals caught the eye - flanker Jack Preece who scored a hat-trick of tries and fly half Tom Barrett who returned a match winning display of 22 points - a try, seven conversions and a penalty.

Rotherham led 24-3 at the interval and with their forwards continuing to force their way into Ulster’s 22, were able to create further scoring opportunities.

The handling of the backs was impressive as was the speed of their counter attacks which regularly stretched the Ulster defence.

Even when they had a comfortable advantage of 38-3 Rotherham e did not relax, and with converted tries on 63 and 76 minutes by winger James Broadley and Michael Keating, they were leading by 52-10 as the final minutes approached.

Ulster whose wholehearted commitment never slipped, were rewarded with two late tries on 74 and 80 minutes.

“ This was a good performance against a good side. The moves we practised came off and when we do that we showed we can be a dangerous team,” said Preece.

“This was my first hat trick since I was a kid playing eight-a-side. Taking in to account that we had new combinations in the pack, our forwards did really well.

“I am confident that we can get better and better in the B& I Cup, so now we have to build on this performance in the next two weeks.”

Rotherham will be highly satisfied that players returning from injury - Barney Maddison, Ben Thomas and Max Argyle, came back strongly against Ulster as did hooker Johnny Matthews on a rare first team start.

Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Broadley, Hayes, Harris, Keating, Barrett, A.Davies, Hislop, Matthews, Thiede, Maddison, Robinson, Birch, Preece, Ryan.

Replacements: Gadd, Macklin, Thomas, Argyle, J. Davies, Mitchell, McKinney.

Tries: Preece(3), Hislop, Barrett, Keating, Broadley.Conversions: Barrett 7.Penalty: Barrett.

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU).