NIC Rouse will be Rotherham Titans ELEVENTH coach in FOURTEEN seasons as the club begins one last determined thrust to keep hold of their Championship place.
There are many whys and wherefores over the dismissal of Andy Key today as head coach, the third in succession to leave without seeing out a full season following the parting of ways with Mark Jones and Justin Burnell.
Clearly Rotherham have been found wanting this year, culminating in a 12th straight defeat as they were beaten 36-19 at home by Doncaster.
Many will argue that squad spend equals relative success and with the best will in the Clifton Lane world it hasn't been enough for Key to develop a comprehensively good team. Others will say that Key didn't get the best out of the resouces available and that game plans were often below par. But this season's failings haven't been for the want of trying and Key has clearly done his level best.
Andy Key with Nic Rouse
But forget all of that, At the end of the day it's a results buisness and that's why the decision was taken by the Rotherham Board.
Key officially leaves next Wednesday but won't return to Clifton Lane after today. He told his players the news following the Doncaster defeat.
The club now has to move forward and start planning for life in National One because even with the best coaches in the world at the helm, they're not going to avoid the drop barring a miracle.
Here's what we're saying in the Advertiser this Friday:
The thing about Rotherham Rugby Club is that every single ounce of quality and energy has to be squeezed out. It's been like that for ever and a day and when levels fall short of that 100 per cent, when one cog slips, then the whole dynamic fails.
It's been like that this year. Important areas of the team haven't functioned, game plans haven't worked as Key wanted and the team has all-too-often looked pedestrian.
Rather that opt for a more agricultural simplicity, they have pitched for a level which has usually been too high for their collective talent. There are times when doing the simple things has to be preferable, for instance don't try to phase-build and play your way out of your own 22 because decent opposition will force mistakes, force turnovers and score tries.
Tough season...Andy Key
The decision to part company was made after the 36-19 defeat against Doncaster, ironically after the first half brought some of Rotherham's best rugby of the season. But their challenge fell flat in the second as the Knights eased to a bonus point win and with London Scottish pocketing three points from today's 52-52 draw with Bedford, it leaves Titans even further adrift.
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