Rotherham Titans must overcome the tightest defence in the Championship if they are to earn a shock away win at Jersey tomorrow.
The Titans fly to the Channel Islands today full of confidence following their victory against Nottingham a week ago, a win that has made almost certain their participation in the Championship next season.
Although the stress of relegation has been banished, coach Justin Burnell will have been working out how to crack the Jersey defence which so far has proved to be the best in the Championship.
Jersey have conceded 44 tries only in 19 league games, fewer than the top two sides in the league, Bristol and Doncaster Knights.
The Titans’ defence tomorrow needs to be more vigilant than it was last weekend when Nottingham’s first try exposed sloppy thinking in the Rotherham 22.
Burnell’s pack in particular must rise to the challenge thrown down by the Jersey forwards, widely regarded as one of the most powerful units in the Championship.
They’ve scored 24 tries between them, so the Titans must be disciplined and be careful not to give away penalties at St Peter’s which would allow their opponents to set up line outs close to the Rotherham line.
One of the many improvements Burnell has brought in since taking over as coach in February has been the way the Titans’ forwards defend as a group when under pressure which they will be put under tomorrow.
Jersey, fifth in the table, are in the fortunate position of being able to plan for the 2016-17 campaign and have already re-signed several players for next season.
Now that Rotherham seem far more secure, Burnell can activate his recruitment and retention policy where the priority will be to sign powerful forwards.
A major figure tomorrow against Jersey will be fly half Will Robinson who made a big impact on his Rotherham debut in the win against Nottingham.
Robinson’s goal kicking accuracy played a vital part in the Titans’ win, and his ability to strike penalties during a game in which the Titans are keen to gain revenge for November’s 27-6 defeat at Clifton Lane will be of the utmost importance to the outcome.