Titans plot route to play-off semi-finals

Rotherham Titans v London Scottish.....Titans Adrian Griffiths sent flying in the air by the tackle of Scottish Matt Heeks
Rotherham Titans v London Scottish.....Titans Adrian Griffiths sent flying in the air by the tackle of Scottish Matt Heeks
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All season, Rotherham’s goal has been to reach the promotion play-offs in the Championship so that they have the chance to compete for a place in the Premiership next season.

The Titans achieved that ambition some weeks ago, but now they know for certain who their next opponents are.

Rotherham are in the same play-off group as Bedford Blues, Cornish Pirates and Leeds Carnegie - all beatable at Clifton Lane. The schedule of matches is as follows:

Weekend of March 9-11: Rotherham v Bedford; March 16-18: Leeds Carnegie v Rotherham; March 23-25: Cornish Pirates v Rotherham; March 30-April 1: Rotherham v Cornish Pirates; April 13-15: Rotherham v Leeds Carnegie; April 21: Bedford Blues v Rotherham.

So Titans have six highly competitive matches to start with, and ones which will not only test the quality of the squad but also the judgement of coach Andre Bester.

He will be concentrating on preparing his players for the group stages, but if Rotherham are successful they go through to the semi-finals.

So all efforts at the Titans are now focused on how to beat Bedford at Clifton Lane a week on Saturday.

For the record, they finished on 57 points with 11 wins and 10 defeats in 22 Championship games, a satisfactory return and one which has laid the basis for further success.

Rotherham’s pack, including Semisi Taulava and Robin Copeland, is one of the strongest in the Championship, and one which is feared.

Titans also possess a match winner in fly half Garry Law who is top scorer in the Championship with more than 200 points.

Rotherham, whose defence is solid, have the potential to reach the semi-finals, but their weakness, is that they do not threaten enough.

The Titans’ try scoring record is not good enough: only 47 in 22 games whereas Bedford and Pirates are much more dangerous sides, scoring 80 and 77 tries respectively.

So Rotherham will need to show much more aggression and invention in the play-offs than was seen at Clifton Lane against London Scottish as the first part of the league campaign ended in a poor way.

Beaten by three tries to none by a side that had won twice only away, Rotherham, in effect their second team chosen to give game-time to players mostly on the fringe, were outplayed from start to finish.

Rotherham Titans: Hamilton, Tellwright, Godfrey, Nonu, Homan, Hodgson, Farnham, Kilbane, Stagg, O’Donnell, Patrick, Griffiths, Armes, Kirwan, Wade. Reps: Bester, Harris, Stout, Vaioleti, Taulava, Foden, McCall.