ROTHERHAM’S failure to reach their potential in a sloppy and sluggish performance at Clifton Lane meant that they were beaten for the second time this season in the Championship by the Penzance club, one of the strongest sides in the league.
The Titans blamed their defeat on their inability to train properly because of the recent Arctic weather which had caused the match to be postponed four times. Rotherham have a point because several players were taking part in a competitive game for the first time in a month, so there were justifiable excuses for a flat display and several mistakes.
Coach Andre Bester said after watching his team claim a losing bonus point only: “We looked like a side that had not played for weeks.”
But with the South Yorkshire derby against Doncaster coming up on Saturday at Castle Park, Bester needs to correct the errors that allowed Pirates to gain control. On the plus side, Rotherham did score two excellent tries by forwards Barney Maddison and Robin Copeland, the Titans’ leading try scorer in the Championship with 11 touch-downs.
Their tries on 13 and then on 50 minutes may well have been created intelligently, but in between these attacks, the Titans offered little to upset the Pirates’ authority. Occasionally full back Tom Foden and centre Shane Monahan showed signs of breaking through the Cornish defence, but with the play-offs on the horizon and remaining Championship clashes against Doncaster and London Scottish, it must be a matter of concern that the Titans do not score more tries.
Once fly half Garry Law had converted Copeland’s try, Rotherham still had plenty of time left to win the game. The score was only 19-14 in the Pirates favour, but the Titans failed to produce devastating attacks in the Cornish 22.
They also turned the ball over at important times which permitted their opponents to survive any pressure.
On a disappointing afternoon for the home side, Rotherham’s coach can be satisfied that the defence stood out in the second half during which Pirates were able to score only a penalty on 47 minutes and were prevented from adding to their first half tries. With only the odd change for the trip to Doncaster, Bester is likely stick more or less to the same 15 for the Castle Park clash, but supporters can expect Copeland to start.
TITANS: Foden, Kirwan, Monahan, Nonu, Hamilton, Law, Williams, Kilbane, Baines, O’Donnell, Patrick, Maddison, Dickinson, Dougall, Taulava. Reps: Stagg, Harris, Hooper, Vaioleti, Copeland, Tellwright, McCall.
Tries: Maddison, Copeland.
Conversions: Law 2.