Rotherham Titans: Reliance on the luck of the Irish against Pirates

Michael Keating
Michael Keating

Rotherham Titans, resuming their campaign on Sunday to finish in the top four of the Championship with the toughest of games at Cornish Pirates, will be hoping that the luck of the Irish will once again guide them to victory.

Full back Sean Scanlon and winger Michael Keating, from Munster and Leinster respectively, both scored tries on Rotherham’s previous visit to Penzance in April last year when they recovered superbly in the second half to score 33 points to win by 40-20 after losing 20-7 at half time.

As Keating explains: “I’ve prospered in my career against Cornish Pirates whether I’ve been playing for Leinster, Doncaster and now Rotherham.

“I reckon I’ve played them eight times in the British and Irish Cup and in the Championship and have scored seven tries which is not a bad return.

“They have a lot of good players and you’ve only to look at their recent win against Bristol, the only time Bristol have been beaten in the league.

“Against them, we must play in the right areas, force them to make mistakes and take our chances.

“I don’t think we should force the game too much. I prefer an expansive game, but when we kick well as against Yorkshire Carnegie, we win matches.

“So, you’ve got to make the opposition play in their own half.”

With seven tries in the Championship, Keating is again Rotherham’s leading try scorer as he was last season.

“I’m happy with my form and my goal is to eclipse the number of tries I got in the league in the 2013-14 season. I scored 11 then, so with seven now I’m in a good position.

“I like to get involved as much as possible and don’t like to be stuck out on the touchline. It was great to be part of the victory against Yorkshire Carnegie when I scored the first try.

“That win created a massive buzz and if we play like that, we are more than capable of winning the rest of our games. Our players have high ambitions for themselves.

“Reflecting on our season, we are not less threatening than last year, but then we were good at grinding out results. I think last season Rotherham would have ground out wins against Nottingham, Moseley and Plymouth who’ve beaten us this season.

“The Worcester result(49-10) was embarrassing for any professional player and we said afterwards it mustn’t happen again.”

Keating scored two tries at Cornish Pirates last April, and another two would come in handy on Sunday.