RUGBY UNION: Impressive first win for Titans

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ROTHERHAM won their first league match of the new Championship season with a tremendous performance at Meadow Lane where they had not recorded a victory since the 2006-07 campaign.

From start to finish, Titans played with outstanding purpose and determination to set up a confidence boosting win which was far from expected given that Nottingham had won their opening games.

The Rotherham pack were ferocious and never permitted Nottingham to settle. In particular there were solid, eye catching displays from Ted Stagg, Rory Pitman, Alex Rieder,Carl Kirwan and replacement forward Latu Makaafi who stole the ball to stop a late Nottingham try.

Another player who impressed was new scrum half Joel Gill who looks to be a signing with the ability to make a lasting impact.

Rotherham, after a positive first half in which they led 9-3 at the interval, stepped up the pressure during the second period and scored tries on 62 and 70 minutes.

Nottingham had made it 9-9, but the referee awarded the Titans a penalty try just after the hour and following the conversion by fly half James McKinney, their lead stretched to 16-9.

A careless blunder in Nottingham’s defence enabled Irish winger Eamonn Sheridan to steal the ball and grab a try 12 minutes later. A touch-down which put Rotherham in front by 27-9.

Rotherham’s superiority in attack and defence was backed up by accurate goal kicking once again from Ulster number 10 McKinney.

His penalties on 5, 18, 23, 65 and 69 minutes showed his value to the team effort, but the Ulsterman from Belfast also sensibly controlled the game with intelligent tactical kicking.

Rhys Crane scored Nottingham’s only try on 79 minutes in a sub-standard display which angered new coach Martin Haag. Rotherham, throughout, tackled sharply and contained their opponents who were prevented from implementing their enterprising style.

This important win, which must be built on by the Titans in the match at Clifton Lane next Saturday against Jersey who are new to Championship rugby and are currently bottom of the league having lost their opening three games.

Titans: Whitehead, Homan, Blackett, Nonu, Sheridan, McKinney, Gill, Cahill, Stagg, Davies, Patrick, Maddison, Rieder, Kirwan, Pitman. Reps: Baines, Gadd, Kilbane, Sanderson, Makaafi, Law, Williams.

Scorers: Tries: Penalty, Sheridan.Conversion: McKinney.

Penalties: McKinney 5.

Referee: Steve Lee.