Titans hit back to hammer Pirates

Juan Pablo Socino
Juan Pablo Socino

A brilliant second half performance in Penzance during which they scored five tries took Rotherham into the promotion play-offs next month along with Bristol, London Welsh and Leeds Carnegie.

After being outplayed in the first half at the Mennaye Field where they were losing by 20-7,Rotherham fought back superbly to claim their first win in Cornwall since 2008.

Indeed, the Titans were so dominant after the interval that they scored 33 points without reply from the Pirates who were defeated by six tries to two.

Nothing about the Titans performance in the first half suggested they would recover so strongly and in such dramatic style, but with the pack winning plenty of possession and with the side running the ball from deep in their own half, Rotherham smashed the Pirates’ defence regularly.

Inspired by an outstanding display by fly half Juan Pablo Socino,Rotherham scored on 43,58,60,74 and 80 minutes.

Irish winger Michael Keating shot through for two tries and in addition, there was one each for hooker Tom Cruse, replacement scrum half Dan White and centre Jack Roberts.

Earlier, although they were in trouble in the scrum, Rotherham hinted at a recovery just before half time as full back Sean Scanlon completed a thrilling counter attack.

However, with Pirates being awarded a penalty try just before the interval to put them in front by 20-7 following the conversion, it seemed that Rotherham would suffer another defeat in Cornwall.

The transformation in form was unexpected as it was amazing.

Rotherham’s speed with the ball in hand repeatedly sliced holes in the Pirates’ defence which had previously been solid.

The Titans led for the first time by 21-20 just before 60 minutes as Socino put over the third of his four conversions, and with possession being controlled by Rotherham, the bonus point was grabbed after White touched down for the fourth try.

Rotherham still had more than 20 minutes to hang on to their lead of 28-20,but to make sure of their place in the play-offs before they play Leeds next weekend and then finally Ealing, they needed to continue on the attack.

This was accomplished in style as the fifth and sixth tries were run in by Keating and Roberts to round off a memorable and remarkable victory, Rotherham’s 16th in 21 Championship games which takes them to 75 points in the table.

The one disappointment was a first half shoulder injury to skipper and scrum half Charlie Mulchrone however he has a week to recover before the big Yorkshire derby against Leeds at Abbeydale.

Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Broadley, Davies, Roberts, Keating, Socino, Mulchrone, Gadd, Cruse, Tampin, Holmes, Thomas-Brown, Williamson, Preece, Rieder.

Reps: Morris, Williams, Stout, To’oala, Murphy, White, Gill.

Scorers: Tries(6)..Keating(2),Scanlon,Cruse,White,Roberts.Conversions: Socino (4),Murphy.

Referee: Andrew Jackson.