Rugby Union: Rotherham Titans 33 London Welsh 32
Rotherham Titans launched their new league season in sensational style with a dramatic win at Clifton Lane to claim five points in their first Championship game.
No one would have predicted such a thrilling victory when the Titans, outplayed for most of the second half, were losing by 32-18 after more than 70 minutes.
However, they fought back to score 15 match winning points between the 74th and 82nd minute, and then they had to survive another four minutes of added time.
Replacement fly half Charlie Foley played a massive role in the shock win. Not only did he lay on the pass to send in skipper and centre Will Owen for Rotherham’s fourth try, he also held his nerve to put over the match winning penalty.
Earlier, another new player, one of 16 in the match day squad, forward Dan Grange, started the much needed recovery by forcing his way over in the 74th minute, and with Foley converting, the Welsh lead had been cut to 32-25.
How Welsh threw away such a commanding position is a question for them to answer, but Rotherham should be given huge credit for the strength of their fightback as they cashed in profitably on limited opportunities.
In the first half, the Titans scored two outstanding tries by fly half Will Robinson and winger Jack Hayes to lead 18-17 at half time, but for much of the second half, the Welsh dominated to add two more tries, and with Rotherham making plenty of mistakes, they seemed certain winners.
But Grange, Owen and Foley had other ideas and created a memorable win that boosts the Titans’ confidence before Saturday’s derby at Doncaster Knights.
So was Foley nervous when he was about to kick the crucial penalty?
“Actually, I was alright and it was one of those situations when you have to trust yourself. I was lucky to knock it through and I was so delighted when the kick went over, but I had to check to make sure that it did.
“Our boys never gave up, we kept believing and that’s the main thing. We kept on going and the bench made a big impact.”
A relieved Titans’ coach Justin Burnell, formerly in charge at London Welsh, said: “The pleasing thing for me was the character we showed. We were under the cosh and on the back foot and I was also really pleased for the bench players who came on and made a big difference.”