Titans stay bottom in play-offspool

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Rotherham Titans .........14

Cornish Pirates ..........17

Rotherham’s promotion campaign in the Championship play-offs is ending in disappointment, and with only one win so far in four games, the Titans remain bottom of Pool B on just five points.

Rotherham have been beaten twice at Clifton Lane, and by failing to take advantage of home conditions, the inititiative has been handed over to the opposition in games which must be won if progress is to be made.

Rotherham did score two good tries against the Pirates who are now favourites along with Bedford to reach the semi-finals, but despite the scores by forwards Robin Copeland, his 13th try, and Adrian Griffiths, far too many errors were made.

Titans gave away the ball too often and failed to score important points when their pack was close to the Pirates’ line.

If chances were missed, so was the influence of fly half Garry Law who is unlikely to play again in the remaining matches against Leeds Carnegie and Bedford.

The Scotsman, the top points’ scorer in the Championship with more than 250, seriously injured his ribs in the 25th minute and was replaced by Cliffie Hodgson.

Law has been offered a new deal by Rotherham who are keen to keep the accurate goal kicker but he has still to accept the terms.

If he leaves, recruiting someone of his standard will be difficult, but coach Andre Bester is confident that the new players he is understood to have signed for next season will make Rotherham much more competitive.

His plans are being kept secret for the present, but it is thought that Bester has recruited 15 new signings who, he says, will improve Rotherham by 25 per cent.

Many of the new signings must be England qualified because, under new Championship regulations, 15 of the match day squad of 22 must be eligible for England.

The emphasis now at Clifton Lane is on the long term. Players Bester wishes to keep for next season may be offered two year deals, a policy which brings stability.

A big factor for Bester is that this time next season, Rotherham must finish in the top four of the Championship to be eligible for the promotion play-offs.

Rotherham now have a week off before their next play-off against Leeds at Clifton Lane, a match which will be the last home game for at least five of the pack who are moving on to other clubs and you suspect several other players who will also be leaving because they have not be re-engaged.

Rotherham Titans: Foden, Homan, McCall, Nonu, Monahan, Law, Williams, Cahill, Baines, Hooper, Patrick, Maddison, Copeland, Dougall, Taulava. Reps: Stagg, Kilbane, Vaioleti, Griffiths, Kirwan, Tellwright, Hodgson.

Scorers: Tries: Copeland, Griffiths, Converions: Hodgson 2.