Rotherham Titans 34 Doncaster Knights 17: Cup derby honours go to Titans
Rotherham Titans blew away the memory of two consecutive league defeats to beat local rivals Doncaster Knights in the British and Irish Cup at Clifton Lane.
The outstanding individual performance was produced by fly half Lloyd Evans whose 24 points - a try, two conversions and five penalties - was revenge for the Championship loss to Doncaster at Castle Park last month.
Evans, 20, is one of five Gloucester players signed on dual registeaction and his match-winning effort on his home debut was quite remarkable.
“I was a bit nervous because it was my first full game for Rotherham. I’d played only for 10 minutes the week before at Bedford.
“I am happy with my contribution but this was a good team performance. I thought our defence throughout was unbelievable and we took our chances well.
“I’ve settled in quickly and the whole squad and the coaches have been exceptional. Both the Championship and the B and I Cup are tough competitions. The rugby is physical and the standards of fitness are really good.
“I am not sure how long I’m going to be at Rotherham because that’s up to Gloucester but this is a nice club,” said Evans.
On this evidence, the Titans will be hoping that Evans is allowed to stay, along with his four Gloucester colleagues.
Rotherham’s other tries were scored by scored by forward Toby Salmon and winger Jake Henry during a Titans’ display that withstood a fight-back by Doncaster who with 30 minutes left were only 21-17 behind.
However, the Knights’ poor form and indiscipline continued, and with Evans punishing them again on 66 and 70 minutes, Rotherham led 27-17 late in the second half.
The fly half completed a memorable debut by scoring a fine try in the 78th and once Evans’ conversion had gone over, the Titans’ celebrations began.
As coach Justin Burnell prepares for the resumption of the Championship in two weeks, he will be advised by Dave Ellis, one of the best and most experienced defence experts in world rugby.
In a significant move by Rotherham, Yorkshireman Ellis, the French defence coach for 11 years, will be Clifton Lane for the rest of the season.
Under Ellis, France won a Grand Slam and two Six Nations titles between 2000 and 2011 and reached a World Cup final.
Back in 2005, he coached the All Blacks’ defence as they took on the British Lions and he’s also worked extensively at top clubs in France, and at Gloucester and London Irish in the English Premiership.
Given the strength of Ellis’ background,the influence was clear during the derby and with Rotherham, 10th in the Championship, needing to improve their league form, Ellis’ role will be crucial.
Rotherham Titans: C. Foley, B.Foley, Hudson, Barker, Henry, Evans, Walsh, Williams, Cole, McNulty, Salmon, Curry, Batley, Grange, Clarke.
Replacements: Maddison, Hutchinson, Rees, Oliver, Tyas, Tresidder, Bryant.
Scorers: Tries: Salmon, Henry, Evans. Conversions: Evans 2. Penalties: Evans 5.
Referee: Jake Makepeace.
Doncaster Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart, Catchpole, Hayes, Bulumakau, Humberstone, Edgerley,Hislop, Hunter, Sproston, Williams, Nolan, Makaafi, Owen, Shaw.
Replacements: List, Bergmanas, Quigley, Gray, Robinson, Cusack, White.
Scorers: Tries: Catchpole, Hayes. Conversions: Flockhart 2 Penalty: Flockhart.