Youngsters primed for Titans call up

Rotherham may well have a competitive match tomorrow against Pontypridd in the British and Irish Cup but Titans' focus remains next Wednesday's Championship game at Clifton Lane against London Welsh.

The exact make-up of the Rotherham team to play Pontypridd at Sardis Road is not known, but with a win against Welsh much more important than success in the British and Irish Cup, the Titans' side is unlikely to include many first-team regulars.

The 22 travelling to South Wales will include talented players from both universities in Sheffield.

Nevertheless, Rotherham will try to put out a competitive team; they will need to because Pontypridd, even if they rest several of their top players, will be a formidable outfit.

So the emphasis at Clifton Lane is concentrated on maintaining and improving Rotherham's league position in the Championship.

As the table stands, Rotherham, in seventh place, have played three fewer games than their rivals for a place in the top eight.

The Titans are on 32 points from 15 Championship games whereas Plymouth, who gained a losing bonus point following their 10-6 defeat by Cornish Pirates on Wednesday night, have 32 from 18 matches and Bristol 28 also from 18 league games.

The competition among the clubs below the top five or six is severe, and if Rotherham are to achieve their ambition of finishing in the top eight and therefore in the promotion play-offs, league wins against London Welsh and then Nottingham, a week on Tuesday, would boost their chances.

Meanwhile, it is certain that centre Byron Godfrey, who suffered a nasty ear injury against Cornish Pirates last Saturday, will not be fit for the London Welsh match.

The South African has needed several stitches to a torn ear, an injury which will prevent him playing for a couple of weeks.

The other Rotherham player who was hurt last weekend, full back Cliffie Hodgson, has recovered quickly from his head injury and should be in the squad for Wednesday's league match.

England prop Andrew Sheridan has ended speculation about his playing future by deciding to stay with Sale Sharks.

Sheridan, who joined Sale from Bristol in 2003, has extended his existing Sharks contract to remain at Edgeley Park for another season.

The 31-year-old powerhouse scrummager had been linked with a lucrative move to France, following the likes of his fellow England internationals Jonny Wilkinson, Tom Palmer and James Haskell.

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