Friends reunited for Titans ahead of Sunday’s big derby clash


Rotherham, now preparing for Sunday’s derby at Clifton Lane against Yorkshire Carnegie, are expecting to play against two former Titans in one of their most important Championship games of the season.

Both number eight Ryan Burrows and prop Rob O’Donnell enjoyed successful careers at Clifton Lane before moving to what was then Leeds Carnegie and Worcester Warriors respectively.

Since moving to Headingley in 2011, 28-year-old Burrows, who played 100 times in four seasons at Rotherham, has established himself as one of the most consistent players in the Championship and in his five seasons with the Leeds club has gone on to appear in more than 90 games.

Burrows reappears at Clifton Lane determined to gain revenge for last season’s two defeats in the league by Rotherham as Carnegie lost 6-0 at Headingley in November and then by 40-15 in February.

The Yorkshire Carnegie forwards, with O’Donnell making his debut for his new club after signing from Worcester Warriors, set up their win against Jersey last Sunday by 39-22 after a poor first half.

O’Donnell had two seasons at Rotherham between 2010-12 and quickly became one of the most feared props in the Championship, so it was not surprise that Worcester, with a much bigger budget, should sign him.

However during three seasons at Sixways, the Liverpudlian was not able to command a regular first team place, appearing in only 35 games.

Tall and weighing 19 stone, O’Donnell - aged 29 - is experienced at this level and Rotherham’s pack on Sunday must make it a priority to contain him.

The Titans, who opened the new Championship campaign on Sunday with a narrow 24-23 victory against Ealing Trailfinders, are fully aware they will need to improve on that performance this weekend if they are to record a third successive league win against their Yorkshire rivals.

Rotherham coach Mark Jones, delighted with some aspects of his team’s display but less than satisfied with others, will be hoping, above all else, that scoring opportunities will be taken, not last by goal kicker Tom Barrett.

While the Rotherham fly half put over the match winning penalty against Ealing, earlier he had missed 11 points, suggesting that Barrett needs to be more consistent, not least in tight games.