Rotherham Titans go into round 4 of the British & Irish Cup fully prepared for what is expected to be a tough ask when they travel to Ealing Trailfinders on Saturday; kick-off at Vallis Way is 3pm.
Having slumped to a 45-10 home defeat last weekend to an impressive Ealing outfit, Titans are aware that on their home artificial patch, the West Londoners are a formidable side. In last year’s competition Trailfinders were knocked out at the semi-finals stage against eventual winners Munster ‘A’ and they’ll be intent on going at least one step further this time around.
However, despite the heavy home loss to Ealing last week, Rotherham believe they saw and learnt enough from the game to give them an opportunity of causing an upset in the capital.
Going into the game Rotherham have been plagued by injuries and as a result have drafted in 2 dual registered players from Premiership side Bath Rugby. Centre Rory Jennings and tight head prop Sam Nixon have been added to the squad and both will start the game.
Three other changes to the side from last week see Jake Henry come in on the wing for the injured Wesley Hamilton, whilst in the pack second rower Guy Borrowdale comes in for the injured James Lasis and rounding off the changes Adam Peters comes in at number 8 for Tom Burns.
Speaking ahead of the match Titans Andy Key explained, “We had mixed emotions following our defeat to Ealing last week because we had such a really good first half where we went in at the break at 10 all against a side that’s sitting second in the Championship. We achieved that with a really good performance and a lot of the things that we wanted to put into practice came to fruition in that first half.
“The disappointing thing is we let ourselves down in the second half, where we missed too many first up tackles which gave them front-foot ball and with a side like Ealing if you give them front-foot ball they’ll make you pay for it.
“It’s interesting that we have Ealing again this week; they’ll be aware of some of the things that we did that they’ll be aware of, but there’s actually a lot of stuff as well that we have up our sleeve that we can do which will get us into the right areas of the field.
“However, it’s the simple things we need to focus on and make sure we get right; we’ve also got to put a lot more emphasis on our organised defence and against good sides you have to deprive them of space and opportunities on the ball.
“We did that well in the first half against them last week and there’s been a lot of emphasis this week in our preparations to do that better on Saturday. And then in attack it’s more about the opportunities that we feel we can get when it’s turnover time or off kick receives.”
Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley, 13 Drew Cheshire, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Lee Millar, 9 Francisco Vieira, 1 Tom Williams, 2 Jonny Murphy, 3 Sam Nixon, 4 Rob Louw, 5 Guy Borrowdale, 6 Dan Grange, 7 Charlie Maddison (Capt.), 8 Adam Peters.
Replacements: 16 Brandon Palmer, 17 Andrew Foster, 18 Tom Calladine, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Rhodri Davies, 21 Joe Barker, 22 Jamie Cooke.