As Rotherham prepare for their toughest home game of the season against Championship leaders, London Irish, on Saturday, Titans’ coach Justin Burnell has put out as special appeal to match referee Steve Lee.
“London Irish have an all international front row in the scrum and that includes prop Ben Franks who has twice won the World Cup with New Zealand. We want the referee to treat them as any other Championship club and for the match officials to be consistent and fair” he said. “They should be treated the same as anyone else. I don’t want our boys to be refereed out of the game. London Irish have internationals across the field and it’s great to have a World Cup winner at Clifton Lane.
“Our scrum on Sunday at Nottingham was fantastic and it was rather embarrassing not to win at the end,” says Burnell.
After a solid performance at Nottingham where the Titans drew, it’s hard to see Burnell making many changes to face London Irish who are favourites to regain their place in the Premiership after a season in the Championship.
Titans’ squad won’t include any of the dual registered Gloucester players. The deal with Gloucester has finished because Rotherham could not meet the financial demands.
The strength of Irish cannot be stressed too much: in addition to the All Black Franks, capped 47 times, his colleagues in the front row prop, Tom Court and hooker David Paice, are also internationals. Court appeared in 32 Tests for Ireland and Paice played in eight games for England. In the backs, centres Aseli Tikoirotuma played recently for Fiji against England and Ciaran Hearn has been capped by Canada.
All of the Irish first team squad of 32 players have appeared in the Premiership and considering their Championship record so far of 10 consecutive wins and nine bonus points out of a possible 10, it will take a miracle for Rotherham to achieve the upset of the season.