If Rotherham Titans are to start the New Year positively and to regain confidence after a miserable run of five consecutive defeats, then it is essential that Cornish Pirates are beaten at Clifton Lane on Saturday.
Speaking after the Titans’ recent heavy loss(43-9) by Yorkshire Carnegie at Headingley, coach Mark Jones said the players agreed they had to be much harder on themselves if results, particularly in the Greene King IPA Championship, were to improve.
That critical attitude is shared by 23-year-old flanker Max Argyle, the former Sheffield Tigers’ forward, whose form has been consistently sound this season.
Argyle, 18 stone and more than six feet tall, has played in all Rotherham’s 12 Championship games and, according to the statistics, has been on the field for no fewer than 840 minutes...which is more than any other player.
“I am always optimistic that things will get better” said Argyle.
“But we have to win and have to deliver, and I think it’s time as a squad we asked a lot of questions.
“Are we trying hard enough?, Are we actually serious?
“Have I earned the income I’ve been paid?, Have I been playing well enough for my mates?” he asked.
“So we have to look at ourselves. We certainly put the effort in, but in this league, trying hard is not enough.
“We need to be more professional when it comes to mental toughness and show that you need to be ruthless at this level.
“My grandparents don’t regard being paid to play as work, so I think we should realise how lucky we are to be playing professional rugby with your mates at Rotherham,” points out Argyle, a Derbyshire-born law graduate from Sheffield University.
As regards this Saturday’s league game against Cornish Pirates who were beaten by Rotherham 26-24 at Penzance in September, Argyle says: “This match has become more and more important and a win is non-negotiable.
“Victory will go the side that wants it most and we must execute what Mark Jones tells us.
“It all makes sense when he explains things and remember Mark played almost 50 times for Wales and coached his country too, so he knows what he’s talking about.
“He treats us like adults and is perhaps more democratic than his predecessor Lee Blackett, (now with the Wasps) and after the run of losses we’ve had, victory will taste a lot sweeter.”