Rotherham Titans put in a disappointing performance as they crashed 37-22 at home to Richmond, as they still search for their first Championship victory of the season.
There were pockets during the game where Rotherham looked dangerous, their driving maul and line out work in particular functioned well. There were also periods in the game where their backs created fine opportunities, but effective defensive work from the visitors, coupled with poor execution ultimately cost Titans the game.
It was Titans who actually started the brighter and deservedly took the lead on 8 minutes through loose head prop Toby Williams, who crashed over from close-range following some sterling work from his fellow pack members.
Rotherham’s lead was short-lived as within 5 minutes Richmond levelled matters when livewire scrum half Luc Jones showed great awareness to skip over.
Undeterred, Rotherham showed good energy and commitment to bounce back before the end of the first quarter. From a Titans turnover the ball arrived with Will Thomas, he made good ground before drawing the last tackle to send in Ben Foley down the right wing for a fine try in the corner.
Again Richmond soon levelled as they mounted a series of pick and goes inside the Titans 22, which resulted in lock forward Chris Davies barging his way over the line.
The visitors now began to enjoy a productive spell which resulted in the home side conceding a number of penalties. Inside the final 7 minutes of the first half Richmond full back Rob Kirby punished Rotherham for their misdemeanours as he knocked over 2 penalty attempts to send his side in at the break with a 20-14 advantage.
Kirby extended Richmond’s lead early in the second period with his third successful kick, after more indiscipline from the home side.
Titans Lee Millar reduced the arrears on 53 minutes from a penalty as Rotherham attempted to re-establish themselves in the game.
Again however, Titans allowed the visitors inside their own 22 and again it was the impressive visiting scrum half Luc Jones who threw an outrageous dummy before racing over for his sides third try of the game.
Rotherham continued to give their best and were not finished yet; following more forward pressure from the pack the ball arrived with Titans Will Thomas who showed good footwork and strength to barge his way over under strong pressure. Millar’s conversion from out wide unfortunately struck the left hand post to leave the hosts 8 points adrift.
Titans continued to make inroads into the Richmond defence and created opportunities inside their half of the pitch. Unfortunately for the hosts they were unable to make the most of these and as the game went into injury time it was Richmond who secured the final score of the game with a bonus-point try from replacement back-rower Toby Saysell.
Commenting post-game Andy Key reflected, “To say we are disappointed with the result doesn’t start to summarise it; we are massively disappointed. Collectively we need to be very disappointed in our overall performance and in our individual performance. That is not a performance by any shadow of doubt.
“I don’t mean to undermined Richmond in anything I say, because they’ve worked exceptionally hard to get themselves into a position where they know what they need to do to win the game and they’ve done that magnificently today.
“They took their chances; I think unfortunately at times we gave them those chances through our mistakes or through our indiscipline and then every time they found themselves in our 22 they came away with points. We didn’t do that.
“When we were inside their 22 and even when they were down a man, a forward, we didn’t do that. I think we are making poor decisions and I think we are making wrong decisions.
“I understand why we probably kicked for goal, but we’d just proved in the corner they’d just binned somebody for going for a drive when there are 8 on the field. Now they’ve got 7 on the field and why we’ve not kicked for the corner and really had a crack at them I do not know.
“We did show snippets in the second half which showed we are more than capable, but 10 minutes here and there will never make a side that can look at his self and say it’s capable of going anywhere other than the bottom of the table and at the moment we are where we are because of our performances.”
Referee: Greg Macdonald
Yellow Card: Chris Davies 47 (Richmond)
Titans: Toby Williams (T), Foley (T), Thomas (T), Millar (2C, P),
Richmond: Jones (2T), Davies (T), Saysell (T), Kirby (4C, 3P)
Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley, 13 Drew Cheshire (Loizias 71), 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Lee Millar, 9 Rhodri Davies (Vieira 22), 1 Toby Williams, 2 Luke Cole (Dolly 71), 3 Matt Shields, 4 Rob Louw (Boladau 52), 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 8 Dan Grange.
Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Ifereimi Boladau, 20 Francisco Vieira, 21 Caolan Ryan, 22 Yiannis Loizias.
Richmond: 15 Rob Kirby, 14 Martin Freeman (Simpson-Hefft 72), 13 Cameron Mitchell, 12 Ronnie McLean, 11 Jono Woodward, 10 Freddie Gabbitass, 9 Luc Jones (Gibbs 74), 1 Jeremy Cunnew (Goodrick-Clarke 70), 2 Jason Phipps (Grimstone 62), 3 Craig Trenier (Tarrant 62), 4 Will Warden (Capt.) (Humfrey 66), 5 Chris Davies, 6 Jesse Liston (Saysell 66), 7 Jack Allcock, 8 Jake Parker.
Replacements: 16 Ross Grimstone, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Alex Humfrey, 19 Jamie Gibbs, 20 Jordan Simpson-Hefft, 21 Toby Saysell, 22 Joe Tarrant.