Rotherham Titans 30 London Scottish 31: Poor tackling lets down Titans

Luke Cole scores a try for Titans. Picture Scott Merrylees
Luke Cole scores a try for Titans. Picture Scott Merrylees

Weak tackling was responsible for Rotherham’s second defeat on the trot, and coach Justin Burnell didn’t pull any punches.

“It was embarrassing as London Scottish were running through us at will,” he said after watching Titans lose by five tries to three at Clifton Lane.

“This is not acceptable. Like last week at Doncaster, we missed too many tackles.

“We’ve got to get our defence right. Missed tackles are killing us and we’ll be concentrating on defence as we prepare for this Saturday’s game at Richmond.”

Burnell’s team has dropped to ninth in the Championship table and is on six points, but has a timely opportunity to recover form in attack and defence this weekend in London as their opponents, Richmond, new to the league, are struggling at the bottom after three consecutive defeats.

But having said that, the Titans need to improve by leaps and bounds if they are to record a second win of the new league campaign.

Rotherham had put themselves in a strong position as they led 13-0 early in the second half, but then they collapsed.

Scottish scored three tries in 10 minutes, the game as a contest was transformed and after an hour, Rotherham suddenly found themselves 19-13 behind against opponents who were full of confidence.

The Titans did add to the first half try by hooker Charlie Maddison when new centre Cameron Hudson broke through on 64 minutes, and when five minutes later replacement hooker Luke Cole also scored his first try for his new club, it seemed they had stopped the rot.

The much-needed improvement then looked more solid and longer lasting as fly half Will Robinson’s penalty in the 76th minute stretched the Titans’ lead to 30-26.

A second Rotherham victory now beckoned, but just when the side had worked their way into a match winning position, the defence crumbled yet again with lethal consequences.

Scottish made the most of their possession in added time, kept the ball alive and gradually created the scoring opportunity that was grabbed by flanker Danny Kenny.

His try gave Scottish a lead of one point only, but it was more than enough to sink Titans who have themselves to blame.

Apart from poor tackling , Rotherham also failed to win because in a largely mediocre first half, they lacked the force to take four scoring opportunities on the Scottish line and could not take advantage when the visitors were twice down to 14 men because of yellow cards.

So three games into the new Championship season, Burnell, who has assembled a decent squad with much promise, has issues to put right if the Titans are to be seriously competitive towards the top of the table.

Rotherham Titans: Thomas, B Foley, Hudson, Owen, Hayes, C Foley, Dudman, Tom Williams, Maddison, Rees, Normandale, Hicks, Curry, Grange, Lawrence.

Replacements: Cole, Toby Williams, Herriott, Salmon, Tyas, Walsh, Robinson.

Scorers: Tries: Maddison, Hudson, Cole. Conversions: C.Foley, Robinson 2. Penalties: C. Foley, Robinson 2.

Referee: Michael Hudson.