Titans relegated after Jersey defeat

Rotherham Titans 22 year’s tenure in the top 2 tiers of English rugby came to an end following their 38-16 Championship defeat to Jersey Reds.

Titans gave themselves hope of extending their season with an excellent first half performance, which saw them go in at the break leading 13-7. However, the Islanders produced a powerful second half effort which saw them run out comfortable winners in the end.

With 3 games remaining, Rotherham they will be keen to round off the campaign on a high before embarking on National One rugby next term.

Saturday’s effort against the high-flying Island side demonstrated that Titans are not a poor side and under a different set of circumstances probably wouldn’t be in their current predicament.

The game itself saw the host’s race into an early lead on four minutes through winger Jason Worrall after the Reds moved the ball quickly through the backline.

Rotherham however wasted little time in responding after their pack made good ground inside the Reds 22, before Rhodri Davies peeled away to snipe over for a fine try. Caolan Ryan’s conversion levelled the game at 7 apiece.

Titans continued to enjoy the better of the game and 2 penalties from Ryan extended their advantage to 13-7. However, it could have been much better for the visitors had the Reds not made some crucial last-ditch interventions.  

Titans were denied close to the line when Jersey impressively turned the ball over and Rhodri Davies was denied in the corner after he was bundled into touch just a yard away after making a terrific 40 metre break.

Just before the interval Titans centre Jamie Cooke was shown a yellow card for a late tackle on Jason Worrall. This had repercussions early in the second half as Jersey centre Apakuki Ma'afu waltzed through unattended for a converted try to nudge the hosts 14-13 ahead on 43 minutes.

However, just five minutes later and the Titans regained the lead with Caolan Ryan knocking over his third penalty of the game.

Unfortunately for Rotherham the final quarter of the match saw Jersey implement their power game and as a result the hosts ran in three tries from Nick Selway, Joel Dudley and Kieran Hardy, all of which were converted by Brendan Cope who also knocked over a penalty in this period.

The final score of 38-16 slightly flattered the hosts, but overall the better team on the day won and with it Rotherham’s relegation from the Championship was confirmed.

Commenting post-match Titans Nic Rouse explained, "It's a sad day for the club as we are one of the longest-serving teams in the division.

"We knew we would need to put in a performance and to be fair to the lads we did in the first half, although I thought we left some scores out there.

"Ultimately we weren't ruthless enough but I can't fault the effort of the players, they had nothing left to give."

Referee: Michael Hudson

Attendance: 1,589

Yellow Card: Cooke (Titans)

Titans: Davies (T), Ryan (3P, 1C)

Jersey: Worrall (T), Ma'afu (T), Selway (T), Dudley (T), Hardy (T), Cope (5C), Van Breda (P)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley, 13 Jamie Cooke (Odogwu 47), 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jake Henry (Millar 66), 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Rhodri Davies (Porter 59), 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams72), 2 Luke Cole (Dolly70), 3 Andrew Foster (Palmer70), 4 Rob Louw, 5 Adam Peters, 6 Dan Grange, 7 Charlie Maddison (Burns73), 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Paolo Odogwu, 21 Lee Millar, 22 Will Porter.

Jersey Reds: 15 Scott Van Breda (Co-Capt.), 14 James Newey, 13 Apakuki Ma'afu (Best 67), 12 George Eastwell, 11 Jason Worrall, 10 Brendan Cope (Hardy 66), 9 Joel Dudley, 1 Roy Godfrey (Co-Capt.) (Selway 61), 2 Jared Saunders (Woolmore 56), 3 Leeroy Atalifo (Armstrong 56), 4 Jerry Sexton, 5 Dave McKern (Kolo'ofa'I  51), 6 Rory Bartle (Upfield 73), 7 Conor Joyce, 8 Max Argyle.

Replacements: 16 Jake Woolmore, 17 Nick Selway, 18 Jake Armstrong, 19 Uili Kolo'ofa'i, 20 Jake Upfield, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Mark Best.