Socino stars as Titans boost play-off aspirations

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Rotherham Titans 29 London Welsh 13

Rotherham's best performance of the season saw them take a big step towards achieving their ambition of competing in the promotion play-offs.

Although this excellent Championship win at Clifton Lane yesterday afternoon was undoubtedly down to a fine team effort, especially by the forwards, once again the individual match winner was Argentinean fly half Juan Pablo Socino who finished with an outstanding tally of 24 points.

Socino, scoring a try on 35 minutes, two conversions, four penalties and a drop goal, produced a top class display just when it was required against one of the best sides in the Championship.

What was particularly satisfying about the Titans' collective exhibition was that it was achieved the hard way.

After a weak start in which London Welsh led by 10-0 after only seven minutes, Rotherham stayed calm and gradually moved forward into a match winning position.

By half time, thanks to Socino's try, conversion, penalty and a drop goal, Rotherham had drawn level at 13-13, and although London Welsh's danger man, centre Hudson Tongauiha, had scored a try, the Titans' defence had improved and continued to be strong.

As the second half unfolded, Rotherham's forwards grew in confidence and won possession in the right areas of the pitch.

The breakthrough, fully deserved, arrived on 47 minutes. The Rotherham pack won a scrum on the London Welsh line and not for the first time delivered.

Scrum half Joe Bedford fought his way over to grab a most important try and with Socino adding his second coversion, Rotherham now stretched their lead to 20-13.

The Titans' authority increased and with the defence rising to the challenge, Socino continued to play a major role.

His additional penalties on 58,63 and 84 minutes killed any hopes that London Welsh entertained of a recovery, and instead enabled Rotherham to claim four precious points and an eighth Championship win.

Rotherham Titans: Welding, Hampsey, Hepworth, Hodgson, James, Socino, Bedford, Kilbane, Loney, Quigley, Sandford, Smidt, Dickinson, Kettle, Burrows. Reps: Steenkamp, George, Harris, Baines, Dougall, Rhodes, Swatkins.

Tries: Socino, Bedford.Conversions: Socino 2.Penalties: Sicino 4.Drop goal: Socino.

London Welsh: Claassens, Sampson, Tongauiha, Mackey, Drauninu, Lennard, Runciman, Pittman, George, Ward, Williams, Corker, Russell, Hills, Taione.

Try: Tongauiha.Conversion: Lennard.Penalties: Lennard 2.

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