Allen takes centre stage

ROTHERHAM coach Phil Werahiko is facing a must-win game against Launceston at Clifton Lane tomorrow and has made one major change in the back line.

Thursday, 20th September 2007, 12:41 pm
Updated Friday, 21st September 2007, 10:49 am

After the dismal performance at Exeter where the Titans were thrashed 62-10, a huge transformation is required if Roth are to stop sliding down the National One table.

Tom Allen comes in to replace Scotsman Jamie Blackwood and form a new centre combination with Kiwi Mark Lawson.

Allen, who did well in the A side which beat Doncaster A 50-14 on Monday, is a skilful and intelligent player and in a team largely unused to playing at National One level his experience is invaluable.

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Said Werahiko: "We have looked at the video from the Exeter game and we know that we have to go into games in a confident frame of mind because any team will get punished if they do not front up in this league.

"Launceston have a point to prove at this level and we certainly will not be taking them lightly."

Allen added: "I'm obviously happy to get the nod because it shows that performing in the A team helps you get selected for first team games."

Launceston - also known as the Cornish All Blacks - are appearing for the first time in National One. They arrive at Clifton Lane with a similar record to Rotherham's.

They've won one game and lost two, but Launceston are a place above Roth in the league and have conceded fewer points.

While Roth were being overwhelmed in Exeter, tomorrow's opponents were winning their first league game, securing a 34-21 victory against Sedgley Park in the last minute.

Previously,the Cornish All Blacks had lost to Doncaster 26-8 and to Cornish Pirates 26-12.

Roth's pack have one change in the back-row where Michael McComish takes over at No 8 t from Alex Dunlop.

Werahiko, under considerable pressure as he takes the Titans into only their fourth game of the new season, must inspire the Roth pack to deliver a towering effort to restore confidence in a side which has been knocked off course by consecutive defeats.

"This is the game when the team can show it has character and pride," said Werahiko.

"We've been rebuilding this week. We let ourselves down, our supporters and sponsors and now we must show that we have good players."

n Rotherham Titans: White head, Feeley, Allen, Lawson, Grissing, Nolan, Dillon, Corsar, Corrigan, Boulton, Smith, McGowan, Jacobsz, Cochrane, McComish. Reps: Conroy, O'Donnol, Water house, Connolly, Hallam, Blackwood, Griffiths.