Long-serving Kiwi set for final curtain call at Rotherham

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Today’s South Yorkshire derby marks potentially the final visit to Clifton Lane for a stalwart of the region’s rugby.

New Zealander Glen Kenworthy is in his seventh and final season with Doncaster Knights – for whom he is a gnarled lock and developing forwards coach – having spent seven years prior to that with their opponents today, Rotherham Titans.

“It wasn’t supposed to work out like this,” quips the Kiwi of his extended stay in the county.

“But I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Unsurprisingly, Kenworthy has lost count of how many South Yorkshire derbies he has contested, though he has never played for the Titans against the Knights.

His time with Rotherham included two seasons in the Premiership, and coincided with a period when Doncaster were still rising through the league pyramid.

A proud servant of both clubs, he will stand down from playing at the end of the season to further his coaching career.

“I came to Rotherham in the summer of 1998,” he remembers.

“I’d spent a little time in London before moving up and one of the main reasons was Jon Phillips, who was a Kiwi and a coach at the club. They were a good side and the club was a big club back then.

“They’re stronger than they’ve been for many a year and Andre Bester has done a good job.

“And Clifton Lane is always a hard place to go, but if we perform like we know we can, we can take a result.”

There may be only one place between the two teams in the RFU Championship but Rotherham have been in better form and are unbeaten at home.

Doncaster’s form has been indifferent and they come into the match having won only one of their last four.

“A few results haven’t gone our way but as everyone knows, it’s all about ensuring you’re in the top eight when the next ‘season’ starts,” says Kenworthy.

“We’re a young team and we’ve missed certain players this year. We’ve felt Michael Cusack’s absence in the scrum and we haven’t had an out-and-out No 10.

“The boys who have stepped up have done a good job but if we could go out and pick up two players like that tomorrow we’d be all right, but we just don’t have the finances.”

Should Doncaster lose, Leeds Carnegie will overtake them with victory at winless Esher.

Head coach Diccon Edwards, whose side are unbeaten in five in the league, said: “We have got some big games coming up in the Championship over the next few weeks and it is important that we maintain our current momentum.

“This Saturday marks the halfway point in the season and we will be in a good position to assess where we are after that.”

Andy Titterrell and Mike MacDonald return from injury to take a place on the bench.