COACH Nic Rouse paid tribute to his battling Rotherham Titans side after victory over Cornish Pirates - striking the killer blow with just SIX seconds left on the clock.
It was the club's first Championship win at the 14th attempt and with eight games left to play, Titans will now target a second win at Richmond in a fortnight's time as they look to pull off the greatest of rugby escapes. The 27-24 victory leaves Rotherham 19 points behind Hartpury.
It was cucumber-cool Caolan Ryan who snatched the win for Rouse's side just when it looked as though Pirates had done enough to grab the points, having overturned a 21-10 interval deficit to lead 24-21 thanks to second period tries from Chris Morgan and Tom Duncan.
But when the Cornishmen erred five minutes from the end, Lee Millar hoisted over a penalty to level the scores and set up a tense finale.
It was another Pirates blunder which proved decisive. An awful clearance kick from deep in their own half went dead at the other end and play was pulled back for a scrum to the hosts just 30 metres out.
And great work from the pack led to a penalty being dramatically awarded to Rotherham - and Ryan stepped up to whack the ball between the sticks with a fabulous effort from out wide.
Said Rouse: "I can't praise the boys enough and everyone can see what it means to them.
"They've worked really hard for this and now we have to keep up the momentum at Richmond in a fortnight's time."
Titans laid the foundation for the victory with tries from Will Thomas, Drew Cheshire and Ryan, Millar also having a 100 per cent kicking record with three penalties and a conversion.
It was a third win on the spin for Rouse following the previous British and Irish Cup wins against Richmond and Connacht and there's a full report - and a picture special - in this week's Advertiser.
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