Rotherham’s Irish full back, Sean Scanlon, 27, has come in for special praise from Titans’ new coach, Justin Burnell, as the Welshman prepares the squad for his first Championship match in charge against Bedford Blues at Clifton Lane.
Scanlon, in his third season at Rotherham, plays his 60th league game tomorrow, and since Burnell took over last week, has assumed the role of backs’ coach in addition to playing. “I’ve been impressed with Sean’s personal input, he has an excellent understanding of the game. Sean’s work with the backs before the Ealing game and in the build-up to the Bedford match has been really good,” says Burnell.
Scanlon has started 15 of the Titans 16 Championship games this season, scoring four tries and is all set to play a major again against Bedford who are fourth in the league on 52 points. “We’ve had a fantastic week in training” said Burnell. “We’ve been working hard on the line out and on the scrums. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the boys’ win against Ealing has given them confidence and there’s a massive determination to get something out of the Bedford game. We are not turning up just to make up the numbers.
“They are a good side who score lots of tries. I like the hooker Charlie Clare and Paul Tupai, holds the pack together. Bedford’s coach, Mike Rayer, has done a great job, his team play with a lot of width which is the highlight of Bedford’s style of play.”
Given Bedford’s attacking instincts, Rotherham’s defence will have to be at its best to contain a team that has scored 61 tries- 40 by the backs. Titans, third from bottom, have struggled during this campaign and in 16 league games have scored only 33 tries.
Burnell can be certain that Rotherham’s attitude will be a lot more professional than in the first meeting between the clubs in October when they were being thrashed 27-0 by half time at Goldington Road, eventually losing 46-28.
Rotherham Titans from: Scanlon, Keating, J. Davies, Owen, L.Hayes, Barker, Jones, Goodwin, Carter, A. Davies, Hislop, Harris, Tampin, Williams, Thiede, C.Maddison, Preece, B.Maddison, Holmes, Salmon, Oram, Ryan, Calladine, Redfern, Argyle, Birch,Elliot, Cree, Gill.