Rotherham Titans kick-off the race for promotion today safe in the knowledge that if they win the play-offs they will not be prevented from taking their place in the Premiership by bureaucratic red tape.
The South Yorkshire club were yesterday informed by the Rugby Football Union’s board that – along with Leeds Carnegie, Bristol and London Welsh – they had met the minimum standards criteria set out by the Professional Game Board.
Rotherham will have to play their ‘home’ games at Barnsley’s Oakwell stadium if they are promoted, to meet the entry requirements concerning facilities and capacity. But it does at least eliminate the possibility of them being denied access to the Premiership, as was the case when they won the second tier 12 years ago.
The news comes as a major boost to the Titans, who travel to promotion favourites Bristol for the first leg of their Championship semi-final this afternoon.
Rotherham’s budget is dwarfed by Bristol’s but Titans chairman Nick Cragg said: “The bigger they are the harder they fall. We will show true Yorkshire grit and we will not be phased by anything.
“What we have done so far this season proves that.”
Leeds coach James Lowes says his team are also “underdogs” when they host London Welsh in the first leg of their semi-final.
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