Toughest test so far for Bester’s form side

Have your say

Rotherham’s excellent run of form, unbeaten in six games, faces its severest test on Sunday when the Titans, second in the Championship, take on the toughest of challenges at Cornish Pirates.

Rotherham, serious candidates for promotion, are expected to put out the same squad which triumphed at Clifton Lane against Bristol last Saturday.

In recent seasons, Rotherham have struggled to cope with the hostile atmosphere in Penzance, but with such a competitive squad this campaign, there should be no repeat of the humiliating 67-14 defeat they suffered on their last visit in March.

Pirates, third in the Championship and two points behind Rotherham, possess several players who have the potential to destroy any side.

In the pack, back row forward Blair Cowan can be a constant threat and in the three quarters, the half back partnership of Gavin Cattle and Jonny Bentley, is arguably the best in the league.

Rotherham must also wipe out the danger posed by winger David Doherty who has scored six Championship tries and full back Rob Cook, who, along with the Titans’ Garry Law, is one of the most accurate goal kickers in the league.

Pirates, encouraged to play an attacking game from any part of the field, have lost at home once this season; Bedford beat them 34-24 and as Doncaster showed, who lost narrowly 39-32, if visiting sides are not intimidated, then it is possible to threaten Pirates on their own territory.

With five wins and, surprisingly, three draws against Moseley, Nottingham and London Welsh, Rotherham’s opponents are firmly on course to reach again the promotion play-offs. And so are the Titans whose recent progress, consecutive wins against Bristol, Moseley, London Welsh and Esher, has received national recognition.

The form of Scottish fly half, Law, the Championship’s top points’ scorer on 114, and the performances of flanker Robin Copeland, five tries and winger Shane Monahan, six league tries, are major talking points, and demonstrate that Rotherham are developing into a dangerous side.

Coach Andre Bester, is focussed on the bigger picture: that it’s Rotherham’s league position at the end of the first part of the season that is important and not where they are now. The priority is to finish in the top eight and contest the promotion play-offs and hope the squad remains injury free.