Rotherham Titans go into round 9 of the Greene King IPA Championship aiming to pick up their first league victory of the season when they take on Jersey Reds on Saturday; kick-off at Clifton Lane is 2pm.
Following eight straight Championship defeats Rotherham will understand the importance of a victory against the Islanders.
However, the Reds will be a difficult nut to crack as other than their defeats to high-flyers Bristol and Ealing, their other losses have been by single digit points. Added to this Jersey can boast the third best defence in the division, meaning the Titans will need to be at their best if they are to register their first success of the season.
Going into the game Rotherham have made five changes to the starting XV which lost to Bristol last time out. The two changes along the backline sees Rhodri Davies come in at scrum half for Francisco Vieira and Ben Foley come in at full back for the injured Will Thomas.
In the pack Tom Williams is given the nod over namesake Toby Williams at loose head prop. In a reshuffled back row Charlie Maddison starts at openside as Skipper Tom Calladine moves across to blindside, meaning Adam Peters is moved up into the second row for Rob Louw and Ifereimi Boladau returns at number 8 for Tom Burns.
Speaking ahead of the match Titans Andy Key said, “We were very disappointed with our performance against Bristol last week. However, we have been moving forward with regards to the way we want to play and a lot of our guys are starting to understand their roles and what it is they need to do. I think we proved that against Ealing, but to then perform in the way we did against Bristol that was more disappointing.
“However, as a group we have brushed ourselves down and picked ourselves up and we’ve re-focused on the next job in hand which is Jersey on Saturday.
“For us the importance is on every game in the Championship because having not won a game yet we need to get that monkey off our backs. Naturally there is pressure on us and rightly so, but by the same token we have to make sure we put in the right performance and work hard in our preparations.
“The boys are in the right frame of mind; we have a real clear focus on what we want to achieve and what we believe Jersey are going to bring and also how we are going to overcome them in those particular areas.
“We have to make sure we work hard enough as a team so we can be effective whether that be in defence or attack. When we do get it right we look a dangerous side. However, what we’re really working on is trying to get the players to understand we have to play for the full 80 minutes; if we can do that I’m confident that we can get the right result.”
Titans: 15 Ben Foley, 14 Drew Cheshire, 13 Yiannis Loizias, 12 Luke Peters, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Tom Williams, 2 Luke Cole, 3 Matt Shields, 4 Adam Peters, 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 7 Charlie Maddison, 8 Ifereimi Boladau.
Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Dan Grange, 21 Logan Tibbetts, 22 Lee Millar.