ROTHERHAM Titans are expecting a crowd of 2,000, their biggest this season, to watch their battle against Championship leaders Newcastle Falcons on Saturday.
Apart from long term injuries, coach Alex Codling should be able to pick his squad from a fully fit group of players, all of whom want to play against the best side in the league and the one which is predicted to regain their place in the Premiership after only one season in the Championship.
With home advantage, Codling is hoping that the result will be much closer than the 33-0 defeat at Kingston Park in October when Rotherham and Newcastle first met in the league.
Newcastle, who are now managed by the former Leicester and England forward and Harlequins coach Dean Richards, are comfortably the most powerful team in the Championship; with 16 consecutive league wins and six straight victories in the British and Irish Cup, the Falcons are firmly on course for promotion.
It would be a massive shock if they did not win the play offs considering their budget - believed more than £3m -and the quality of their squad.
Newcastle have conceded only 162 points in the league, Richards’ side have scored 68 tries, almost double Rotherham’s tally of 35. Top of the Championship with 75 points, 20 more than Bedford in second place, Newcastle possess one of the outstanding match winners in European rugby, New Zealand fly half Jimmy Gopperth.
In Saturday’s game, a major role will also be played by Rotherham’s goal kickers, Garry Law and James McKinney; Law should start at full back with McKinney continuing at fly half.
In terms of accuracy, there is little to choose between the Scotsman and the Ulsterman and with Newcastle’s defence so strong, it may well be that any Rotherham points will be scored by their place kickers.
Of the two Law’s record this season in the Championship puts him in the national stats..131 points made up of 21 conversions 26 penalties, two drop goals and one try.