Rugby Union: Rotherham Titans get Sean back for Bristol game at Sheffield

Sean Scanlon. Picture Scott Merrylees
Sean Scanlon. Picture Scott Merrylees

Rotherham Titans’ fans will be relieved that full back Sean Scanlon is fit to play in Sunday’s second leg of the Championship semi-final against Bristol at Abbeydale.

There had been fears the knee injury Scanlon suffered in the first leg at Ashton Gate might stop him playing, but the Irishman, says he’ll be fine.

Scanlon has missed only two league games this season and his consistent form, which threatened Bristol last week, ensured he was voted Rotherham Player of the Year by team-mates recently. “It was the highest accolade and I was overwhelmed” said Scanlon who has appeared more than 50 times for Titans since joining from Munster. “It’s a great honour to be recognised by the lads. There is a strong bond and we work hard for each other and that attitude will be seen on Sunday.”

His solid defence and speed in attack make Scanlon one of the most respected players in the Championship and if Rotherham are to achieve a shock result by beating Bristol- who lead by 12 points from the first leg - they’ll need his top form.

“It’s still all-to-play-for. We will have to play our best game for a long time, but we know what to expect from Bristol. We know how to break them down and we must force them to make mistakes. In the second leg at Abbeydale last season we were winning at half time but then lost, so we have to learn from that. We also have to play for 80 minutes, not 65 as we did at Ashton Gate, and sort out our scrums and line outs.

“We are not going to panic or chase the game, but when we get into Bristol’s area, we must take every chance. We were impressed with the crowd at Abbeydale the last time we played Bristol there, it’s going to be a massive influence in our favour on Sunday and we can take confidence from the recent win against London Scottish there.”

Scanlon also points out that the hard, firm surface at their temporary home suits their style of play, and if the Titans win enough possession on Sunday, fans will be hoping he can add to his five tries already scored this season in the Championship.