Codling and Drewett on Rotherham shortlist as Bester exits

Alex Codling and former Exeter coach Pete Drewett are the leading candidates to become the new head coach of Rotherham Titans following the resignation of Andre Bester.

The South African quit Clifton Lane yesterday after being charged with breaching club discipline. Bester said he had informed the club at the start of the season that this would be his last year in charge.

Senior player Lee Blackett will handle team affairs for tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby with Doncaster Knights.

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One-time England lock Codling and Drewett, the man who helped build the Exeter Chiefs squad into a Heineken Cup side, are two of six men on the shortlist. The other four are currently in employment with the Rotherham board eager to make a quick appointment to put a sorry episode behind them.

Bester appears to have jumped before he was pushed as Titans board members became increasingly unhappy with his behaviour.

The two parties met twice this week with Bester accused of a number of breaches of club discipline that stemmed from an
argument with forwards coach Ben Wade in pre-season.

From a coaching perspective it is a huge loss. Bester has been one of the club’s finest leaders since they began their march up the leagues in the late 1980s. In his four completed seasons, Rotherham repeatedly punched above their weight.

Bester said: “At the start of the season I notified officials of the club that this would be my final season. I am and always will be extremely ambitious and principled in my working environment.

“I am ready for a new challenge and am looking forward to hopefully working in a set-up where professionalism is at the centre of the culture.

“I would like to thank everyone that has worked on a day-to-day basis closely with me.

“To Garry Law, the players and the coaching staff Mike Whitehead and Lee Blackett, our unwavering belief, support and loyalty in each other is what I call ‘team’. You have done yourselves and your families proud.

“The fans at Rotherham are legendary. You have carried many a team to victory. I will have fond memories of you.

“The support staff have been brilliant. A special mention goes to Dr Chris Myers who has been a cornerstone of this team effort for more than 20 years.”

Titans chairman Nick Cragg said: “Nobody wanted to be in this position but we cannot allow certain types of behaviour. It’s a heartbreaker in many ways.

“We are happy with what we have achieved over the years and hope fans rally round the club in this difficult time.”