Aberavon 14 Rotherham Titans 42: Titans rout Aberavon to clinch place in last eight

Rotherham’s successful campaign in the British and Irish Cup gathered even more momentum with this fifth straight win which not only confirmed the Titans as winners of Pool Two, but also guaranteed them a place in the last eight.

Rotherham Titans head coach Lee Blackett

Winger Michael Keating, who scored a hat-trick of tries, and flanker Jack Preece with two, were the outstanding individual performers in a strong team display at the Talbot Athletic Ground in south Wales.

Rotherham’s priority now is to make sure they achieve a home tie in the last eight which they can earn by securing two points against Yorkshire Carnegie on Saturday at Clifton Lane.

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Leading 28-10 at the interval, Rotherham had already secured a bonus point, but did not relax as they continued to apply pressure through their dominant pack which created two more tries, both for Keating who completed his hat trick on 69 minutes.

The Titans’ powerful display as they won by six tries to two was built on steadily by accurate goal kicking from fly-half Tom Barrett, who put over six conversions taking his personal tally in the last two cup ties to more than 30 points.

Coach Lee Blackett was delighted, but warned: “Having won our group, it would be devastating if we did not have a home tie in the quarter finals.

“Yorkshire Carnegie have a good squad and if they start to click they can be one of the best sides in the Championship.

“This was a really professional performance and I am highly satisfied with the attitude of the players. Aberavon were tough opponents to beat as they showed by scoring two second-half tries.”

As they prepare for a third Yorkshire derby against the Headingley side, the strength of Rotherham’s squad will be increased by the return from injury of forwards Tom Cruse and Toby Williams.

Aberavon: M Williams, Evans, Jenkins, D Evans, Andrews, Damjanovic, Davies, White, Harvey, Clatworthy, Beard, S Williams, Purnell, Brown, Thomas.

Rotherham Titans: Scanlon (Gill 47), Keating, Hayes (McKinney 60), Davies, Dowsett, Barrett, Mitchell, Gadd (Hislop 48),Matthews (Birch 60), Macklin (Tampin 45), Parker (Thomas 47), Maddison, Argyle, Preece, Ryan (Rieder 60).

Referee: Matthew O’Grady.