A player who is largely unknown to Rotherham fans seems set to be plunged into the deep end by being picked for the Titans’ squad to take on Doncaster tomorrow in the second round of the Championship promotion play-offs at Castle Park.
Forward Simon Worrall, who achieved distinction as a rugby league player with Leeds Rhinos but has also played rugby union for the Headingley club, has been on trial at Rotherham for several weeks. The 26 year old, born in Doncaster, has impressed in training, and because of the injury to Sam Dickinson, who broke his arm against Bedford last Saturday, coach Andre Bester has a vacancy to fill.
With an eye on next season, tomorrow’s game may be the opportunity to assess Worrall’s abilities in the 15 a-side game in a match which gives Rotherham the chance to demonstrate their fighting spirit after last weekend’s thrashing. Team spirit may be an issue at Clifton Lane because of divisions: several of the players Bester picks know they will not be retained for next season, a few will be considering other offers, some are not sure whether to stay or go and then there are those players, like skipper and scrum half Matt Rhodes, who have re-signed.
This uncertainty causes problems on and off the field and is not helpful at this stage of the season; the only beneficiaries are Doncaster, Bedford and Cornish Pirates, Rotherham’s opponents in the play-offs who realistically are better placed to make progress.
Bester has several new players lined up for next season and having secured their league position for 2011-12, the coach knows he can tempt them to join.
Bearing in mind how much importance both clubs attach to their South Yorks rivalry, it will be interesting to see if there’s a big crowd. Both Donny and Titans need to improve home support to make Championship rugby viable and in the Titans’ case they believe that can be achieved by considering a move to Millmoor. Playing there is an option, and if the Titans’ long term ambition of returning to the Premiership has any chance of being fulfilled, they need a stadium to match RFU and Premiership Rugby criteria.