Rotherham deservedly lost a close Yorkshire derby at Clifton Lane by two tries to one and will need a big improvement if they are not to be beaten again in the Championship in the tough away clash at Cornish Pirates on Sunday.
Both the tries scored by the Headingley club were the result of Rotherham’s mistakes as they were penalised which allowed the powerful Carnegie pack to score tries on 22 and 70 minutes.
As well as Rotherham needing to sort out their indiscipline and line out, the Titans’ tackling must be much more aggressive if the competitiveness of the side is to make progress in what is a much tougher league.
The one bright moment as far as Rotherham were concerned came on 74 minutes when replacement forward and new signing George Oram forced his way over the Carnegie line to cut their lead to 20-11.
Oram’s try followed an exciting break by flanker Max Argyle whose burst created the scoring opportunity, but apart from that score and an opportunity as early as the seventh minute, the Titans created very little.
Fly half Tom Barrett took his drop goal skilfully on five minutes and then struck a penalty in the 10th, but Rotherham’s backs found it hard to break through.
The Leeds side led by only 10-6 at the interval after the conversion of the try by forward Chris Walker; Rotherham certainly fought throughout and no one can fault their effort, but they lacked spark and penetration.
Carnegie’s pack made sure of the points when once again Rotherham were penalised and again were drive over from a line out as the visitors’ forwards took advantage to add a second try.
Rotherham’s coach Mark Jones, though naturally disappointed to lose at home to Yorkshire rivals was not too downhearted with the result or his team’s performance.
“The good build-up to Oram’s try showed what we’ve been trying to do since I came here.The line-break was excellent and when the chance came we showed composure.
“What we have to do is to show better decision making when we’ve got overlaps which we created against Carnegie. Sometimes we are choosing the wrong options.
“I thought our pack competed very well against powerful opponents, but they scored from our mistakes. What we have to learn is to execute our chances when we are under pressure to do so.”
As regards individual performances which stood out, both in attack and in defence, particularly under the high ball, Sean Scanlon at full back showed again why he is one of the best players in the Championship.
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Keating, Hayes, Barker, Wilson, Barrett, Carter, Williams, Preece, Tampin, Holmes, Maddison, Argyle,Calladine, Cree.
Replacements: C.Maddison, Cromie, Thiede, Oram, Birch, Davies, Goodwin.
Scorers: Try:Oram.Conversion: Barrett. Penalty: Barrett.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth