RUGBY UNION: Losing bonus point for Titans

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ROTHERHAM may well have lost for the third consecutive time in the Championship to London Scottish, but they showed real potential for the rest of the Championship campaign.

In a tight game at the Athletic Ground, Rotherham left it late to earn a losing bonus point.

Coach Andre Bester saw plenty to please him; not least the display of his back row, forwards Toby Freeman, Carl Kirwan and Alex Rieder.

He will also be delighted at the resolve Rotherham showed late in the second half...just before injury time...when, at last, the Titans revealed some attacking aggression.

Strong counter attacks produced a try for replacement hooker Ted Stagg, and when fly half James McKinney kicked an accurate conversion from a most awkward angle, the Titans’ losing bonus point had been achieved.

It should, though, have been much more because Rotherham had controlled the first half and London Scottish were stopped from entering the Rotherham 22 for the entire opening 40 minutes.

Rotherham failed to make the most of their authority by giving away kickable penalties and were punished frequently by Scottish winger, James Love. Recruited from Plymouth, Love was quite outstanding, putting over seven penalties, four in the first half, and then another three as Rotherham continued to upset the referee.

Love, in fact, enjoyed a superb debut for Scottish because he also scored a clever try on 67 minutes which exposed weaknesses in the Rotherham defence.

Love scored all his team’s points in a successful exhibition which owed as much to his skill as it did to Rotherham’s errors.

One of the Clifton Lane players whose game has developed since last season is winger Peter Homan and he was rewarded with a try on 28 minutes. Homan’s strength and power as he broke through the Scottish defence suggested that the Titans would go on and ram home their control, but sadly they fell away disappointingly in the second half.

By contrast, their opponents, leading by only 12-10 at half time, stretched their advantage to 26-13.

Thankfully, though, just in the nick of time, Rotherham’s pack reproduced the aggression which had been so solid before the break.

Counter attacks led by skipper Lee Blackett and replacement scrum half, Joel Gill, inspired a try for Stagg and with McKinney again showing his goal kicking expertise, Rotherham left the London suburbs with a point.