Same again for Titans
Within the twenty two, Titans have shuffled their pack slightly from the side that beat Aberavon 21-25 in Wales last weekend. Fergus Mulchrone moves from outside centre to full back, relegating Mike Whitehead to the bench. Eamonn Sheridan moves to outside centre from inside centre, thus allowing Lee Blackett to return to the starting 15.
This will be the second time the teams have faced each other in the space of three weeks, following Titans 15-3 defeat at the end of September down in the South West.
The two sides first met in September 1994 back in the old National Division 4; on that day Rotherham ran out 23-15 victors. In February 2003 at Championship level, Rotherham secured their biggest victory over Plymouth when they scored 7 tries in a 55-6 victory. Plymouth largest winning margin over the Titans came at Brickfields in 2005, when they put the Yorkshire side to the sword in a 40-23 win. The overall head to head in all competitions sees the two sides dead-even, with each collecting 11 victories and a draw.
Looking ahead to what is expected to be a tricky encounter, Titans Head Coach Andre Bester said, “This game is very important to us and we are playing the full side that is available to us right now. We’ve have 10 big injuries within the squad, but we have said from the start, we have a much better squad this year to cope when injuries do strike.
“It is a really important match for us and we are really looking forward to the challenge. There is a different emphasis on the B&I Cup this year and that’s because we now have the depth of squad to compete in the competition.
“We’ve never started the B&I Cup with a win before, so it was nice to get that monkey of our backs and as I’ve said, we are focussed on the B&I Cup in order to do well in the competition and that’s what we are trying to do.
“The players performed very well last week at Aberavon and I’m sure a lot of our boys who haven’t played a game at Clifton Lane yet are really looking forward to the experience. Hopefully we will have a good crowd at the Lane to support these boys.”
Focussing on Plymouth, Bester continued, “Plymouth has done very well this year so far, they are very abrasive up front, defensively they are very well organised and they’ve also got a few line breakers in their team.
“We know they are a dangerous side, we know they can play, we know that they are well organised and most importantly we know they have got a great team spirit. Everything in rugby is about the team spirit, a lot of the time it is not about what you have, it’s about the spirit within the group and the environment that you create. A team can achieve great things if the spirit within the group is right and Plymouth, like us, has that team spirit.”
Titans: 15 Fergus Mulchrone, 14 Ed Styles, 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 Lee Blackett, 11 Mike Doneghan, 10 James McKinney, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 1 Marshall Gadd, 2 Jan Francois Bester, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Dan Sanderson, 6 Nile Dacres, 7 Joe Ellyatt, 8 Rory Pitman (Capt.).
Replacements: 16 Ted Stagg, 17 Ross Davies, 18 Jamie Kilbane, 19 Alex Rieder, 20 Carl Kirwan, 21 Mike Whitehead, 22 Jimmy Williams.