Rotherham Titans return to Greene King IPA Championship action this weekend when they take on high-flying Ealing Trailfinders in round 7; kick-off on Saturday at Clifton Lane is 2pm.
Still searching for their first league win of the season, Rotherham know they’ll face a tricky challenge from the West London side, who themselves have made a bright start to the campaign having a narrow loss to Bristol as the only blemish on their record this term.
Titans will welcome a few ‘old faces’ back to the club as Ealing have 6 former Titans in their squad, plus on the coaching side Titans former Chief Alex Codling.
Going into the game Titans have made 9 changes to the starting XV which lost at Richmond last time out in the British & Irish cup.
In the pack a new front row combination of Toby Williams, Luke Cole and Matt Shields come in for Tom Williams, Jonny Murphy and Brandon Palmer respectively. Rob Louw returns in the second row for James Lasis and will partner Byron Hodge in the boiler-house, whilst Captain Tom Calladine returns to the side for Tom Willis and will join Adam Peters and Tom Burns in the back row.
Along the backline; Will Porter and Caolan Ryan are retained at half back, wingers Jake Henry and Drew Cheshire are given the nod over Jamie Cooke and Wesley Hamilton, whilst Luke Peters returns in the centre for the injured Joe Barker and will partner Yiannis Loizias in midfield and at full back Will Thomas returns from injury as Ben Foley drops to the bench.
Speaking ahead of the game head coach Andy Key revealed, “We go into the Ealing game with real positivity, we’ve had a brilliant week on the training field and I’ve been really pleased with how the boys have stepped up to it.
“On current form we know Ealing are on fire, both in the B&I Cup and in the Championship and they look like they’re going to be battling it out with Bristol to finish top of the pile come April.
“We’re under no illusions and we respect them as a team, but we know they’ll come here as hot favourites and that sometimes can bring unnecessary pressure on sides when they least expect it or the expectation is they should win comfortably.
“So in that sense we know this is a great challenge and a great opportunity for us to pull all those elements that we’ve been working on over the last month or so together and to step-up and show a performance that is equal to what they’re doing.”
Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Drew Cheshire, 13 Yiannis Loizias, 12 Luke Peters, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Will Porter, 1 Toby Williams, 2 Luke Cole, 3 Matt Shields, 4 Rob Louw, 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 8 Tom Burns.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Brandon Palmer, 18 Matt Postlethwaite, 19 Tom Willis, 20 Ben Foley, 21 Francisco Vieira, 22 Lee Millar.