Rotherham Titans, now preparing for their second game in the British and Irish Cup on Saturday, have received a boost as coach Lee Blackett selects his squad for the clash at Clifton Lane against Aberavon.
Irish number eight Will Ryan, who gashed a hand in training last week which prevented from him playing in the B and I Cup derby against Yorkshire Carnegie at Scarborough last Friday, is making good progress and might be available for the second round tie.
With Blackett keen to make an impact again in the competition and at least repeat last season’s place in the quarter finals, the squad will also be strengthened by the return from injury of two forwards, props Robin Hislop (rib) and Lewis Thiede (foot) for Titans’ third game in the Cup against Ulster Ravens in Belfast, a week on Friday.
Elsewhere, winger Curtis Wilson (hamstring) should be back at the end of this month and club physio, Dave Swift, is confident that two forwards, who have been absent with long term injuries, Barney Maddison (knee) and Ben Thomas (shoulder), will be fit in three or four weeks.
Rotherham are hopeful, too, that the back problems affecting scrum half Dan White, who missed the Yorkshire Carnegie game, are not too serious, but they are not certain as to when Blackett will be able to pick his first choice number nine again.
What is clear is that forward Ben Morris, whose form has impressed Blackett in the Championship, will not play again until late December having broken a hand on Friday night. Morris will be out for between six and eight weeks; however hooker Scott Freer, whose neck and shoulder injury makes him a long term casualty, will not appear in a Rotherham shirt for the first time until February or March.
Saturday’s cup game against Aberavon should be entertaining. Although the Welsh Premiership club are in poor form in the league (one win in four matches,) a record which has put them second from bottom, they improved at the weekend by beating one of the strongest sides in the competition, Ulster, by 18-14.