Titans 32, London Welsh 16: Rotherham fight back to bury ghost of Bedford shambles

Sean Scanlon tries to find a way through
Sean Scanlon tries to find a way through

Rotherham Titans, showing character and wholehearted resolve, fought back strongly at Clifton Lane where they buried the shambles of their defeat at Bedford in the previous Championship match.

The Titans’ victory moves them into fifth place in the league table on 22 points, and having beaten the side which came down from the Premiership last season, they recorded their fifth league win in eight encounters.

Titans run into some stiff defence from London Welsh

Titans run into some stiff defence from London Welsh

This much needed win was by no means inevitable. London Welsh led by 16-12 with more than an hour gone and Rotherham had missed three scoring opportunities near the Welsh line in the second half, but the Titans kept calm and later seized the chances they created.

None more so than try scorers full back Sean Scanlon and winger Ben Rath who has now touched down four times in four successive games. Scanlon shot through on 63 minutes following a skilful pass from hooker Jack Preece, and then in the 80th, Rath scored under the posts having been set up by replacement forward Charlie Maddison who charged ahead after intercepting a Welsh pass.

So gradually, Rotherham had unexpectedly put themselves in a match winning position and were now leading 29-16 as added time approached.

In addition to grabbing the few chances coming their way, Rotherham’s victory can also be attributed to top class defending that prevented London Welsh creating their own scoring opportunities in the Titans’ 22.

In a solid team effort, individuals stood out: forwards Tom Holmes, Ben Maddison and Max Argyle, and in the backs the tackling and work rate of centre Joe Barker.

However, significantly, it was the display of fly half Ross Jones, making his full Championship debut at Clifton Lane, that made a decisive impact as he scored an outstanding 22 points.

The Welshman struck five penalties, two conversions and a drop goal in an exhibition that was all the more impressive because since his arrival from the Ospreys, the Pro12 side based in Swansea, he’s played little rugby in the number 10 role.

“I played 21 times for the Ospreys but I needed more game time which is why I came to Rotherham. The boys here and the coaches have helped me settle in and as a player I needed to get more exposure which you get in the Championship.

“We were below par at Bedford but after a really tough week in training, we have bounced back. We stuck to the game plan against London Welsh and it paid off.”

Rotherham do not play again in the Championship until a week on Sunday when they are away at Nottingham who have the same number of points but are sixth in the league, just below the Titans.

Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Rath, J.Davies, Barker, Keating, Jones, Carter,Cromie, Preeece, Thiede, Holmes, B.Maddison, Argyle, Calladine, Cree.

Replacements: C.Maddison, Hislop, Tampin, Oram, Birch, A.Davies, Hayes.

Scorers: Tries: Scanlon, Rath. Conversions: Jones 2. Penalties: Jones 5. Drop goal: Jones.

Referee: Andrew Jackson.