Titans bid to consolidate play-offs place

With the exception of South African centre Byron Godfrey, who is still recovering from an ear injury, Rotherham Titans will be at full strength for today's Championship game at Clifton Lane against London Welsh (2pm).

Coach Andre Bester, who rested the vast majority of his first team for the weekend's British and Irish Cup tie at Pontypridd so they could prepare for this afternoon's clash, puts out the side which performed heroically to beat Cornish Pirates 19-18 in the last Championship match 10 days ago.

Following his good performance in the cup tie in South Wales, three quarter Peter Swatkins may be recalled to take the place of Godfrey.

Rotherham's goal all season has been, to reach the promotion play-offs, and to achieve that aim they must finish in the top eight. Seventh placed Titans, on 32 points, could do themselves a favour today. They have two games in hand on eighth placed Plymouth (31 points) and three on Bristol (28).

Much will depend on Rotherham's defence which will be tested repeatedly by a London Welsh team which likes to attack. In particular, their winger Josh Draunaniu, the Championship's leading try scorer with 13, must be marked tightly.

The Welsh backs are a far stronger unit now that the former Rotherham star, Errie Claassens, has adjusted so well to his role at full back.

Now in his second season at Welsh, Claassens, a high class finisher, likes to run the ball from inside his own 22, and he played a significant part in his side's last Championship win against Moseley who were thrashed 48-12.

On that occasion, today's visitors, third in the league, scored six tries, taking their tally to 60, so Welsh are a team to be feared.

However, Rotherham's confidence was boosted by the win against Cornish Pirates and as the narrow Clifton Lane pitch will not suit Welsh's style, Titans may be able to claim another narrow win.

Rotherham Titans (from): Hodgson, Welding, Swatkins, Hepworth, James, Socino, Bedford, Kilbane, Loney, Quigley, Sandford, Smidt, Dickinson, Kettle, Burrows, Rhodes, Hunt, Steenkamp, Harris, McGregor, Dougall, Baines.

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