Rotherham’s ambition to reach the promotion play-offs was strengthened further by this sixth consecutive win at Clifton Lane in the Championship, but the Titans will need to produce a far sharper performance at Bedford on Saturday if they are leave the East Midlands with any points.
As coach Andre Bester quickly acknowledged after he’d seen his side achieve their eighth victory in 13 league games: “We’ll be more focused against Bedford.”
And rightly so because Rotherham seldom reached their potential against an ordinary Albion side that lacked any spark, but nevertheless turned out to be awkward opponents to overcome.
Plymouth, third from bottom in the Championship, should have been beaten by a far greater margin, and that appeared the likely outcome after an excellent start by Rotherham who rapidly built up a lead of 14-0 following two tries in little more than 15 minutes.
Exciting scores on eight and 16 minutes by prop Rob O’Donnell and then winger Ed Tellwright suggested that Rotherham, dominating possession and territory, would go on to score four or five tries.
But after the opening 20 minutes, Rotherham went off the boil, and never looked like scoring another try until injury time approached, the forwards threatened Plymouth’s line andthe powerful figure of number eight Semisi Taulava smashed his way over, but the referee decided the ball had been knocked on. That incident was a disappointing end to a disappointing contest in which Rotherham, whose defence record is the best in the Championship in terms of points conceded - 235 - were annoyed they let in Plymouth for their only try on 22 minutes.
While Bester’s side struggled to put together penetrating moves apart from the aggressive start, their tackling throughout was top rate, and another satisfactory point was the continuing good form of goal kicker, fly half Garry Law whose two conversions and then two penalties in the second half extended his points tally in the Championship to almost 160, the highest in the league.
Rotherham Titans: Foden, Tellwright, McCall, Nonu, Monahan, Law, Rhodes, Kilbane, Stagg, O’Donnell, Maddison, Griffiths, Copeland, Dougall, Taulava. Reps: Dickinson, Hooper, Baines, Cahill, Williams, Hodgson, Kirwan.
Tries: O’Donnell, Tellwright.Conversions: Law 2.Penalties: Law 2.