Defence is in need of strength as Titans suffer at Pirates

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Rotherham’s miserable record against Cornish Pirates in Penzance continued as the Titans were thrashed by eight tries to two at the Mennaye Field.

The urgent need to appoint a replacement to succeed coach Andre Bester was clearly evident, especially in the second half in which Rotherham conceded five tries to a rampant Pirates side.

One of the priorities of the new coach, who is expected to be named later this week, will be to strengthen Rotherham’s defence, particularly against driving mauls towards their line.

Rotherham did show some improvement after the interval as they began to show much-needed aggression.

Trailing 22-9 at half time, having let in three tries, Rotherham put together a limited recovery and scored tries, both by replacement hooker Ted Stagg, on 52 and 65 minutes. With fly-half Garry Law, who had earlier dropped two goals in the first half, converting Stagg’s first try, the deficit was cut to 29-14.

Stagg’s second score, again resulting from strong forward pressure by Rotherham’s pack, began to make the scoreboard look more respectable, but the Titans were still 36-21 down.

Their defence was given a torrid time by two of the Pirates’ best forwards, back row specialists Phil Burgess, who scored a hat-trick, and New Zealander Laurie McGlone who smashed through the Titans’ defence to touch down in each half.

The power of the Pirates’ counter attacks proved difficult to contain as was seen when centre Junior Fatialofa cut through with too much ease in the 70th minute.

Rotherham themselves should have added a third try late in the second half, but forward Toby Freeman was unable to finish a promising move because he stepped into touch.

It was a scoring opportunity that should have been taken as there was still time remaining for Rotherham to try to earn a losing bonus point by scoring a fourth try. Pirates passed 50 points by adding two more tries on 80 and 82 minutes.

Rotherham now have a fortnight to regroup before their next Championship game against Leeds Carnegie at Clifton Lane.

Cornish Pirates: Davies, Pointer, Riley, Fatialofa, Mercer, Penberthy, Cattle, Storer, Elloway, Prescott, Lyons, Johnson, Maidment, Burgess,McGlone.

Rotherham Titans: F.Mulchrone, Homan, Blackett, Gill, Doneghan, Law, C.Mulchrone, Cahill, Baines, Davies, Freeman, Sanderson, Rieder,Ellyatt,Rieder.

Referee: John Meredith.