Rotherham Titans keep trust in experienced heads to lead team

Rotherham Titans in action against Chester last week.Rotherham Titans in action against Chester last week.
Rotherham Titans in action against Chester last week.
ROTHERHAM Rugby Club is content to keep putting its trust in its older heads while the search for a new team chief continues.

Since Adam Byron left the club in the middle of last month, player-coach Matt Smith has taken on more prominent duties with support from the squad's more senior operators.

Titans have lost at Otley and beaten Chester under the temporary arrangements and director of rugby Martin Jenkinson is confident there is enough rugby nous at the helm as Christmas slowly comes into view.

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“Matt Smith is a senior coach with us and is still in situ. There are also a lot of senior players,” he said.

“Matt Challinor, Lloyd Hayes and Gareth Denman, these are 30 odd year-old lads who have played at a good standard and for a long time.

“With greatest respect, they can guide this before we get sorted out.”

This weekend takes Rotherham to Preston Grasshoppers for the first time since a 10-6 defeat there 29 years ago.

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One of the north's oldest rugby union clubs, they play on a 30-acre site at Lightfoot Green, just north of the city.

Preston snapped a run of five straight defeats with a 22-22 draw away to bottom-of-the-table Blaydon last weekend.

Although Rotherham are 23 points better off, they are not immune to being upset by lesser lights having lost to Wharfedale, Huddersfield and more latterly Sheffield Tigers this year. They don't want a repeat.

“We are not taking anybody lightly,” stressed Smith. “I don't care who we are or where we've been. It means nothing.

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“This squad is turning up for every game with the upmost respect for every team we play against and that's the way we will approach Preston.”

Matt Smith

Five defeats from the opening 12 games has left Titans with too much to do to reel in top two Sedgley Park and Fylde in the second half of the season.

Smith added: “I don't anyone is going to be daft enough to think it (promotion) is still there.

“We are still a team that is struggling a bit for confidence. There were two opportunities in the first half against Chester and one in the second when we were camped in their 22.

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“Good teams put them to the sword and it's three more tries. At the moment we are not there but there is the ability in the team to do it.

“What we have to do is get that confidence going in the right direction, work hard in training every Tuesday and Thursday and we'll be in a good place.”

Kick-off on tomorrow is at  2.30pm.