Rotherham Titans out to grasp golden promotion opportunity

Rotherham Titans head coach Gareth LewisRotherham Titans head coach Gareth Lewis
Rotherham Titans head coach Gareth Lewis
​UNEXPECTEDLY cast into the role of promotion favourites, Rotherham Titans are zoned in on completing the job in their final two matches.

After endless months of chasing National Two North leaders Leeds, the Tykes’ 18-15 defeat at Fylde on Saturday coupled with a 13th straight success for Titans against Preston has flipped the title race on its head.

Rotherham will make a return to National One, the third tier of domestic rugby, if they win their last two matches away to Sheffield Tigers and Billingham irrespective of what Leeds do in their remaining fixture at home to Sheffield RUFC.

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​”It was quite a unique atmosphere in the clubhouse after the match on Saturday,” head coach Gareth Lewis told the Advertiser. “Everyone was obviously happy after the win against Preston but they were glued to their phones as the updates on Leeds came through.

Try ... for Jack Townend against Preston Grasshoppers. Pictures by Kerrie BeddowsTry ... for Jack Townend against Preston Grasshoppers. Pictures by Kerrie Beddows
Try ... for Jack Townend against Preston Grasshoppers. Pictures by Kerrie Beddows

"It means it’s game on and for the first time in pretty much the entire season it’s in our hands.”

With just one loss on their record, to Leeds, Titans will be favourites to collect two five-point wins against Tigers and Billingham but need to be primed for opponents motivated to throw a spanner in the works.

"This Saturday away to Tigers was always going to be difficult,” added Lewis. “It’s a South Yorkshire derby at Dore Moor but the scenario adds a bit of additional spice to it now and I’m sure they’ll want to spoil the party.”

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He added: "What happened last week was just rewards for the way we trained as a squad. There was a big focus on not letting the season peter out. It didn’t look as though Leeds would come unstuck but we kept true to ourselves and kept the standards and intensity of training through the week and the players reaped the rewards. We have to keep that focus now for the next two weeks.

Harry Newborn drives on against Preston.Harry Newborn drives on against Preston.
Harry Newborn drives on against Preston.

"It’s a bit of a cliche – one game at a time but there won’t be many biggers ones than Saturday.

"We’ll take a strong following to Sheffield and hopefully we can get one step closer.”

Second row Matt Smith (head injury) could be back in contention to face a Tigers team who sit seventh after three defeats from their last four. Ki ck-off is 3pm.