DFP Header

Share this London Scottish page

Pro Team - Match Pages - Match Info

Rotherham Titans Match Preview

Rotherham Titans Match Preview

It's been a long road back to the top end of English rugby for all connected with London Scottish.

It’s been a long road back to the top end of English rugby for all connected with London Scottish.

The opening round of the 2011/12 Championship sees Scottish face a tough and physical home encounter against a Rotherham side on Sunday the 4th September with a 2pm kick off. The Scottish team has been strengthened well over the summer and have been thoroughly prepared during the pre-season by the coaching staff for the up and coming challenges. Make sure you are there and witness history in the making.


Rotherham rugby club was formed in 1923 and moved to their current home ground Clifton Lane in the late 1930s. Since the introduction of league rugby the club has continuously risen through the league structure. In season 1988/89 the club won the North East Division 1 and began their rise up the rugby pyramid. This was immediately followed up by five further promotions in six seasons to propel the club to the fourth tier of English rugby by the 1995/96 season. The club eventually reached the equivalent of the Championship in season 1997/98 and won this league to enter the Premiership for the 2000/2001 season, however they were relegated losing all of their matches finishing last. The following season the club won the Championship equivalent level again, but were controversially denied promotion due to their ground not being considered up to Premiership standard. Since then the club have been a consistent and regular member of the Championship.

The current Head Coach is South African Andre Bester, who is in his second spell with the club. During his previous tenure he coached the club to fourth and runners up in the 2005/06 & 2006/7 respectively at Championship level. This coming season will be Andre's second in charge, with a respectable 8th position achieved during the regular season games. However in the promotion play offs the club only managed to accrue one point from their six matches and led Andre to completely overhaul the Rotherham squad. The club has decided to go full time for the 2011/12 season and Scottish supporters should look out for two Scots who ply their trade in the Rotherham colours; full back and former Scotland A internationalist Gary Law together with 2nd Row and former Scotland age group player Neale Patrick. Another two players who will be well known to the Scottish followers is centre Palepoi Nonu who Rotherham signed from Launceston over the summer and former Tongan internationalist 2nd Row Talite Vaioleti who moved to Rotherham from Wharfedale. Another feature of the Rotherham team is the size and physicality of their pack, which probably will be the largest in the Championship this season.

During pre-season Rotherham played two matches: in their opening friendly they crossed the Pennines to play Macclesfield. This was the first opportunity to gel their new team together and the club sent an “A” team which lost 28 – 21. As always when a new side is being put together it takes time for the team to find their feet. A short time later the club played their second match, which saw them visit Llanelli Scarlets. A full strength team lost 37 – 18. Their final pre-season game was an internal affair, where the 'Possibles' played a 'Probables' side to complete their preparations.

Rotherham will present a tough challenging Championship opening fixture, however Scottish in their own pre-season preparations have incorporated the new players at the club fully into the side. The forwards have greatly benefited from the input from the new forwards coach Alex Codling. The backs have also looked razor sharp and are ready to set up and face the intensity of Championship rugby. The team as a whole are playing with a quiet confidence and Sunday's match should be a cracker. All Scottish supporters are encouraged to get down to the match to cheer on the team and witness history in the making. See you all at the match and Com'mon Scottish!

London Scottish 16-11 Rotherham Titans

London Scottish 16-11 Rotherham Titans

London Scottish won their debut match in the Championship 16 - 11 in front of a large crowd with a comprehensive performance on a rain drenched day. The victory was based on a strong forwards platform, which allowed the team to dominate throughout the match. The whole team stepped up to the plate in this opening match of the league campaign and laid down a benchmark for the rest of the season.

London Scottish won their debut match in the Championship 16 – 11 in front of a large crowd with a comprehensive performance on a rain drenched day. The victory was based on a strong forwards platform, which allowed the team to dominate throughout the match. The whole team stepped up to the plate in this opening match of the league campaign and laid down a benchmark for the rest of the season.

The home side kicked off playing towards the park end of the ground. The Scottish forwards immediately made their presence felt and put the Rotherham pack under pressure. The ball was moved quickly out to winger David Howells who sped down the wing into the Rotherham 22m and was cover tackled with the ball being knocked on. The first ten minutes of the match was played solely in the Rotherham half with the away side being penalised on a number of occasion. From one of the penalties, Scottish opted to kick to the corner and from the platform set up by the forwards, the backs moved the ball quickly through hands to the right hand wing and at the subsequent ruck the ball was bundled into touch by the covering defence. Scottish were penalised at the line out allowing Rotherham to relieve the pressure with a kick down field.


Scottish opened the scoring on the 13th minute, when fly half James Brown kicked a penalty from just outside the 22m after Rotherham had been penalised for handling in the ruck. Four minutes later Scottish increased their lead when the Rotherham front row were penalised at a scrum as the pressure from the pack was telling on the opposition scrum. Brown converted his second kick of the match, from virtually the same spot as his previous one. In the opening quarter of the match the London Scottish forwards had their opposite numbers on the back foot and the visitors defence was being tested to the full. Full credit to the Rotherham side for withstanding the Scottish onslaught. A further penalty was awarded to Scottish on the half way line after a Rotherham player was adjudged to have interfered with a Scottish non ball carrying player. Winger Ollie Grove took the kick and although the ball had the legs, it drifted right of the posts.

Rotherham reduced the deficit after 27 minutes when centre Byron Godfrey broke through the Scottish backs defence in the middle of the park. The Rotherham backs then off loaded the ball out wide, with full back Cliffie Hodgson in close support. He collected the ball and dived over in the corner. Fly half Gary Law took the conversion attempt and missed with the ball falling short and to the left of the posts. The Rotherham cause was hindered shortly before the half time break when Number 8 Semisi Taulava was yellow carded for foul play, following the intervention of the assistant referee after a mêlée. In the final plays of the half Scottish were penalised on the centre spot for holding onto the ball in the tackle. Law made an excellent conversion attempt to put Rotherham 6 – 8 up at half time.

In the opening minutes of the second half Scottish were again penalised on the half way line for diving in at the side of a ruck. Law missed with the conversion attempt with the ball dropping short of the posts. Rotherham increased their lead on the 50th minute when their forwards maintained a period of sustained pressure in the Scottish 22m. The ball was fed out to Law who coolly converted a very good drop goal attempt to put the Rotherham side in the driving seat 6 – 11 ahead. On the 57th minute with the play now being condensed in the middle half of the pitch, the Rotherham captain Sean Dougall was yellow carded after he dived in football style tackle and completely upended James Brown. On the hour mark, Law kicked the ball out on the full from the Rotherham 22m and play was brought back for a Scottish scrum. Scottish drove the Rotherham pack back and new signing and replacement Number 8 Mark Bright picked up from the base of the scrum and drove
towards the Rotherham try line. Bright was held up 5 metres short and with scrum half Matt Heeks in close attention, Heeks quickly fed the ball out to Grove who dived over to score. Brown converted a difficult conversion attempt to put Scottish 13 – 11 ahead.

5 minutes later Heeks made a great half break and raced 30 metres down field deep into the Rotherham 22m and only last ditch tackling prevent a further Scottish score. In the final ten minutes of the match Scottish were in complete control, and their forwards were totally dominating their opposite numbers. The pressure finally told on the Rotherham pack when they were penalised for standing up at a scrum immediately in front of the posts. Brown converted to put Scottish 16 – 11 ahead and for the remainder of the match maintained their control of the match.

A thoroughly well deserved victory for Scottish in their first outing in the Championship. The Scottish pack dominated the Rotherham forwards in the scrum, loose and line out. The backs showed flashes of searing pace and the commitment of all involved was faultless. The opening matches in the Championship will be a big learning curve and the team came through their first test with flying colours. The team now moves on to an even harder challenge with an away visit to Bristol next weekend, so look out for the match preview later in the week. To book a seat on the supporters’ coach, email John Hewitt.

Fly half James Brown was awarded the First Cape Man of the Match award

Pro Team - Match Pages - Match Info

Pro Team - Match Pages - Current Standing

Pro Team - Match Pages - Head to Head

Pro Team - Match Pages - Last Time

Pro Team - Match Pages - Form Guide


Pro Team - Match Pages - Lineups

Pro Team - Match Pages - Score Summary

Pro Team - Match Pages - Lineups

Main Sponsor
Official Club Sponsors
Official Partners
Tournament Provider