Rugby Union: Ellyatt backed to shine as Rotherham Titans seek winning formula

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ROTHERHAM Titans Head Coach Andre Bester is looking forward to harnessing the super fast skills of newly-recruited Joe Ellyatt, who replaces injured flanker Latu Makaafi.

“I think in his pre-season stats he was one of the quickest guys around,” he said. “He did impress in pre-season, however, we chose not to go with him at that stage and he was a bit unlucky.

“But we also knew that the first time we picked up any injuries in that department we would go back to him. Joe can play anywhere in the back row and I see a lot of Sean Dougall about him; only he’s a big bigger. If he can school himself and worked very hard at his game, he can become outstanding.”

Titans head into today’s match with Bristol on the back of a 15-3 defeat away to Plymouth Albion last Friday evening. Whilst Bristol will be looking to avoid a third straight Championship defeat, following their 50-31 loss to Leeds at Headingley and last week’s surprise home 21-22 defeat to Moseley.

Titans make six changes for Bristol with captain Garry Law moving to full back from fly half allowing James McKinney to come back in. Peter Homan is the other change in the backs and he returns on the wing for Mike Doneghan. In the forwards department, Shane Cahill and Dan Baines return at loose head prop and hooker for Jamie Kilbane and Ted Stagg respectively, whilst Barney Maddison gets the nod in the second row.

Bester said: “Bristol are coming into this match on the back of two defeats and that’s makes them very dangerous indeed. They have their experienced players back in and they are a much stronger side because of that. They need to win this match and there’s a difference between wanting to win and needing to win. That makes it a very dangerous scenario for us. We are at home so there’s no excuse for not performing.”

n TITANS: Backs; Law, Sheridan, Blackett, Nonu, Homan, McKinney, Williams, Forwards; Cahill, Baines, Davies, Maddison, Sanderson, Rieder, Kirwan, Pitman. Replacements: Stagg, Kilbane, Denman, Freeman, Doneghan, Whitehead, Gill.