Rotherham Titans’ coach, Andre Bester, has made many changes to the side which narrowly beat Doncaster last weekend for this Saturday’s clash at Clifton Lane against London Scottish, the last league game before the play-offs.
Only five players who started the Castle Park derby - two in the backs, Palepoi Nonu and Steve Hamilton, and three in the pack, Ted Stagg, Rob O’Donnell and Neale Patrick - have been picked to begin against second from bottom Scottish.
With the promotion play-offs starting next month, Bester knows the importance of avoiding injuries.
He said: “Everyone in the team tomorrow has played in the Championship this season, so it’s an experienced side. We’ll have to be at our best because Scottish have the best scrummaging pack in the Championship.”
Interestingly, Tom Armes, the dual-registered Leicester Tigers forward, makes his Championship debut for Rotherham in the back row.
Although Scottish have struggled in the league, tomorrow’s match will be far from easy.
Their forwards are a dangerous unit and while the club has lost 16 of 21 Championship matches, for the most part this season, it has been competitive.
Indeed, Rotherham lost there 16-11 on the opening day, leaving Bester in no doubts that his opponents were a handful. He has not changed his mind, and judging by their ferocious performance against London Welsh, last weekend when Scottish lost by only 29-22, the views of Titans’ coach are spot on.
Another home debutant is South African scrum half Dale Farnham, making his second appearance for Titans in the Championship.