Rotherham Titans 22 Richmond 37: Consistency elusive to leave Titans rooted to foot of table

Rotherham's Rhodri Davies, pictured kicking the ball, is a major injury concern. Picture: Chris Etchells

THE crisis at Clifton Lane is deteriorating as Rotherham lost their fifth consecutive league game, a poor run of form which keeps them bottom of the Championship on only one point.

The Titans were defeated by one of the sides they are battling against to avoid relegation to National One and among the issues that coach Andy Key must resolve is Rotherham’s weak defence which has let in 28 tries so far.

MASSIVELY DISAPPOINTED: Rotherham Titans' head coach, Andy Key.

While the Titans can look threatening in attack, any positive pressure is often ruined by sloppy defending.

Of particular concern looking ahead is an injury to one of their best players, scrum-half Rhodri Davies, who hurt his shoulder after little more than 20 minutes.

Currently, it’s not known how serious the Welshman’s injury is or for how long he may be missing.

If Davies, one of the few Rotherham players with the ability to break through the opposition defence, is going to be absent for several matches, another scrum-half needs to be signed because now there is only one specialist No 9.

I can’t knock the guys because the effort is there, but we keep conceding tries and too easily. I’m massively disappointed.

Rotherham Titans head coach, Andy Key.

Francisco Vieira, a Portuguese international, Davies’s replacement, is learning quickly how to play at a much higher standard and shows promising signs but given Rotherham’s problems, an more experience is required.

The Titans, losing 20-14 at the interval and then by 30-20 with 20 minutes remaining, did score three tries by prop Toby Williams, winger Ben Foley and full back Will Thoma.

But indiscipline, weak defending and a frustrating inability to exploit attacking positions, handed the initiative away.

“We gave Richmond chances through our mistakes,” said Key.

“Every time they got into our 22, they got points. We are making poor decisions and the wrong decisions. We showed snippets of what we are capable of, but 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there does not make a side.

“I can’t knock the guys because the effort is there, but we keep conceding tries and too easily. I’m massively disappointed.”

Watching Rotherham was former coach Lee Blackett, who must have wondered why his old club has declined so rapidly since he took them to successive promotion play-offs in 2014 and 2015.

Rotherham Titans: Thomas, Foley, Cheshire (Loizias 71), Barker, Henry, Millar, Davies (Vieira 23), Williams, Cole (Dolly 74), Shields, Louw (Boladau 53), Hodge, Peters, Calladine, Grange.

Richmond: Kirby, Freeman (Simpson-Hefft 72), Mitchell, McLean, Woodward, Gabbitass, Jones (Gibbs 74), Cunnew (Goodrick-Clarke 70), Phipps (Grimstone 62), Trenier (Tarrant 62), Warden (Humfrey 66), Davies, Liston (Seysell 66), Allcock,Parker.

Referee: Greg Macdonald.

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