Titans star to miss kick-off

Michael Keating is recovering from a hernia operation
Michael Keating is recovering from a hernia operation
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Rotherham Titans have suffered a setback as they build up to the Championship kick-off at London Scottish on September 6.

Rotherham Titans have suffered a setback as they build up to the Championship kick-off at London Scottish on September 6.

Irish winger Michael Keating, their 11-try top try scorer last season, will miss the first two games as he recovers from a hernia operation.

Keating was hurt during pre-season training and is out of the opening matches at Scottish and Bedford, but should be back for the first home league game against Plymouth on September 20.

Meanwhile, coach Lee Blackett is concentrating on preparing his squad of 30 plus for Saturday’s pre-season friendly at Premiership champions Northampton Saints,

“The result is not important, but we need to see how our players perform and gel. There’ll be a lot of chopping and changing,” explains Blackett.

“ I’m pleased with the attitude of the players. They are all desperate to succeed. So far we’ve concentrated on making sure our forwards are bigger and stronger than last season. The boys have the bit between their teeth and the mind-set has been to improve our scrum.

“So we’ve been building up the size and weight of the pack so that we can compete against the top sides who beat us last season. We need to change the perception that the Rotherham pack isn’t physical enough.

“It’s going to be hard this year to repeat last season’s outstanding performance. Worcester and Bristol are miles ahead of everyone in terms of money and the quality of their players and London Scottish are massively improved.

“If Rotherham were to finish above seventh place in the Championship it would be a big, big achievement.”

Blackett’s forwards will be strengthened in the autumn by the return of long-term injury victimesBarney Maddison and Ben Thomas.”