Titans derby joy

Titans v  Knights . Rotherham Titans  Palepoi Nonu off loads the ball to  James Williams (9)
Titans v Knights . Rotherham Titans Palepoi Nonu off loads the ball to James Williams (9)
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Rotherham’s satisfactory performance and result in the South Yorkshire derby at Clifton Lane means that at the half way stage of the Championship season, the Titans can be delighted with their efforts so far.

Their hard work on the pitch and in training has earned a place in the top six after 11 league games, and, if current form continues, Rotherham will contest the promotion play-offs between the leading eight clubs in the Championship.

Titans v  Knights . Rotherham Titans  try scorer James Williams congratulated by team mates.

Titans v Knights . Rotherham Titans try scorer James Williams congratulated by team mates.

Doncaster, meanwhile, have slipped to eighth, and although they showed more enterprise than Rotherham in the second half by scoring a try on 78 minutes, this league defeat was the second on the trot.

The Knights need to improve sharply if they are not to be beaten by Cornish Pirates at Castle Park on Saturday.

In front of an excellent crowd of almost 2,500, two outstanding tries in the first half by Irish forward, Robin Copeland, set up the Titans’ seventh win of the season.

And with Scottish fly half Garry Law continuing his accurate form as a goal kicker - he put over two conversions, two penalties and a drop goal to finish with 13 points - Rotherham tended to be in control and preserved their unbeaten home league record.

So having disposed of one Yorkshire side, coach Andre Bester now turns his attention to preparing his team for the Championship clash on Friday evening against Leeds Carnegie at Headingley.

One issue that concerned Bester which was apparent against Doncaster, trailing 17-0 at the interval, was the forwards’ failure to convert promising positions into even more points.

On at least two occasions, Rotherham’s pack had opportunities to break through because they were camped on Doncaster’s line for several minutes, but despite the pressure, the Knights survived.

Come Friday night at Headingley against a fast improving Leeds side Rotherham must show much more ruthlessness when they have grabbed opponents by the throat.

Doncaster, chasing the game after mistakes let in Copeland for his two long distance tries, moved the ball impressively in the second half, and their enterprise was rewarded by a skilful try from fly half Tom Luke.

However, Rotherham’s tackling was on the whole highly effective and prevented Doncaster causing an upset.

First half tackles by scrum half Jimmy Williams and then by winger Ed Tellwright stopped what appeared to be certain tries. In the second half, number eight Semisi Taulava, skipper and second row forward, Sam Dickinson, repeatedly pulled down any Doncaster attackers.

“We played to our strengths and I don’t think at any stage Doncaster looked like winning, and you have to give credit to the boys who created space for Copeland to score his tries,” was Bester’s verdict.

Doncaster, far too careless before half time, were well led by skipper and scrum half Chris Hallam.

“We panicked when Tom Luke was sin binned and then gave away two soft tries and that put us up against it,” he said.

“We showed in the second half that we could play, but we need to show more belief. Rotherham are a good unit but beatable.”

n Rotherham Titans: Foden, Tellwright, McCall, Nonu, Monahan, Law, Williams, Cahill, Stagg, Hooper, Dickinson, Griffiths, Copeland, Dougall, Taulava. Reps: Baines, Kilbane, O’Donnell, Maddison, Hamilton, Rhodes, Hodgson.

n Tries: Copeland 2.Conversions: Law 2; penalties: Law 2; drop goal: Law.

n Doncaster Knights: McIlwaine, Flockhart, Goss, Gidlow, Keating, Luke, Hallam, Corsar, Boden, Brown, Challinor, Kenworthy, Makaafi, Farivarz, Boyde. Reps: Davies, Parsons, Yeandle, Planchant, Noone, Burdon, Audis.

n Try: Luke. Conversion: Luke; penalty: Luke.