Munster A v Rotherham Titans - Priority for Justin Burnell may lie elsewhere

Rotherham Titans head coach Justin Burnell. Picture: Scott Merrylees.
Rotherham Titans head coach Justin Burnell. Picture: Scott Merrylees.
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Rotherham head coach Justin Burnell admits he will have one eye on next week’s South Yorkshire derby with Doncaster Knights when he takes his Titans side to face Munster A tomorrow.

The Titans host their local rivals in a key Championship fixture on Monday week, with the battle to avoid being sucked towards the bottom of the second-tier table taking on far greater significance than this weekend’s trip across the Irish Sea.

Rotherham were beaten 35-24 by Munster’s second-string in the British and Irish Cup at Clifton Lane last week and Burnell has made 10 changes to the team as he looks to keep his charges fresh for the challenges ahead.

“In all fairness we did have some positives that we can draw on from our game against Munster last week,” said Burnell.

“The big thing for me was our scrum; it is constantly improving and that’s a massive plus point for us.

“We have to admit though, they sent over a very good team as we knew they would; they were very physical at the breakdown and they played very close to the wire.

“They played like the great Munster teams of old and in all fairness to the young referee he had a difficult game; there are no negatives in that, it’s just a fact they beat us with their physicality and experience.

“This weekend it’s about going there with one eye on the Doncaster game; that’s a huge game for us on Boxing Day, but also we would like to rectify some of our mistakes from last week.”

Four of the changes Burnell has made have been forced on him by parent clubs recalling players. Will Goodwin (ankle) and Dan Grange (back) are out while half of the changes made come in the pack.