Three Rotherham players make their Championship debuts for the club in tonight’s league game, one of the most important of the entire season, against Yorkshire Carnegie at Headingley (8pm.)
Scrum half and forwards Sean Robinson and Max Argyle, all of whom have impressed in the recent British & Irish Cup campaign, are now plunged into the season’s second Yorkshire derby which also sees the return of winger Curtis Wilson, who has recovered from a knee injury, that has prevented playing since September.
“Mitchell is a great lad and has lots of pace which is why he is a member of the England U20 squad” said Titans’ coach Lee Blackett. “Since he joined us on a short term loan from Sale Sharks, he has fitted in and done really well. I’m impressed with him and I hope he’ll be able to stay with us for most of the season.
“We go to Leeds as underdogs and know Carnegie will put out a different side from the one we beat in Scarborough in the B&I Cup. So Rotherham will need to step up massively tand if we are to finish at the top end of the Championship table, we have to win games against our rivals such as Carnegie. In our training this week we have been stressing how important it is to have a hard edge and physicality in the big games and we have to get stuck into Carnegie. We are weeks away from replacing Jack Roberts, but the need is not desperate because I am happy with how Jordan Davies and Joel Gill are performing.”
This evening’s match is undoubtedly a big challenge and opportunity for second row Robinson and flanker Argyle to make an impact at a level they have not played before.
However, Robinson, ex-Durham University and on loan from Newcastle Falcons, and Argyle, formerly at Sheffield Tigers, have genuine potential and played prominent roles when Rotherham boosted their confidence by beating Carnegie 20-3 in the B and I Cup.
Winger Michael Keating and hooker Tom Cruse are included in the starting line-up having returned fully fit, much to everyone’s relief at Clifton Lane, from representing the Championship against Canada last weekend at Worcester.
Going into the Headingley game, Rotherham are fifth in the league on 14 points with three wins from five and Yorkshire Carnegie are ninth on 10 points, having lost three of their games.
Rotherham: Scanlon, Keating, Gill, J. Davies, Wilson, McKinney, Mitchell, Williams, Cruse, Tampin, Holmes, Robinson, Argyle, Birch, Rieder.
Replacements: Preece, Hislop, Thiede, Parker, Ryan, A. Davies, Hayes.