A new year dawns with Rotherham Titans in unfamilair surroundings – in the bottom half of the Championship table.
The surprise package of the last two seasons, who achieved c0nsecutive, budget-defying top-four finishes, have slipped to seventh in the second tier after a run of three straight defeats in the league.
That comes amid a run of five straight losses in all competitions, and six defeats in seven games.
Such has been their form, that it has contrasted starkly with that of their South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Knights, who head to Jersey today as the county’s leading team.
Sandwiched in between is Yorkshire Carnegie, whose 43-9 dismantling of the Titans last Sunday was one of the most chastening reverses of the recent run for Mark Jones’s side.
“It was hugely disappointing to lose and although we haven’t played to our full potential recently we didn’t expect that scoreline,” said the Welshman.
Discipline and the set-piece were two areas Jones highlighted as requiring immediate surgery ahead of today’s visit of Cornish Pirates, who by contrast to the Titans, have won six of their last seven.
“If our discipline and set-piece aren’t right against Pirates we’ll make life very difficult for ourselves,” added Jones.
“They are a big, powerful side, they’ve got some nice little subtleties to their game and they bring something new and quirky in now and again which can be difficult to deal with and they’ve got a good kicking game which can be really effective.”
Despite the heavy defeat last week, Jones has made only two changes, with the return of club captain Tom Holmes from injury the biggest boost.