Pack power decides Robin’s return to old nest

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Rotherham’s new flanker, Irishman Robin Copeland, who scored a try on his home debut in Sunday’s win against Leeds Carnegie, returns to his former club tonight as the Titans visit Plymouth Albion in the Championship.

Copeland joined Titans after one season at Plymouth and will be keen to impress against his old team mates, but the recent record against tonight’s opposition is far from good. Albion have won six of the last seven games at home between the two sides. However, the improvement in Rotherham’s form at Clifton Lane on Sunday against Leeds suggests their pack, with Copeland playing a major back-row role, will be far more competitive this season.

Another new signing who made the most of his home debut was scrum-half Jimmy Williams, forming a solid partnership with fly-half Garry Law. Coach Andre Bester is unlikely to change a winning team, but there is a possibility that prop Rob O’Donnell, injured in pre-season, may make a comeback.

The view among Titans players and coaches is that it will take several matches before the new squad gels, but the performance against Leeds gave a glimpse of the high standards that can be reached by Bester’s new signings.

As he prepared his squad for their second away match, Bester has been stressing that if Rotherham’s poor record at Plymouth is to be overturned, it is essential that there is no repeat of the indiscipline which conceded almost a dozen penalties against Leeds.

Albion coach Graham Dawe has included in his squad former Titans hooker Davy McGregor. While Rotherham beat Leeds 22-18 last weekend, Albion lost 34-23 at London Welsh, but Dawe was satisfied with the efforts of his forwards.

With both Dawe and Bester basing their game plans on a battle between rival packs, this evening’s result will depend on how much territory and ball the forwards can win, and then cashing in on the promising positions they have created.