Rotherham Titans head coach Lee Blackett is calling for a reaction from his players as they look to rebound from the juddering jolt they received last week.
The Titans went into last Sunday’s top-of-the-table encounter with London Welsh riding a 10-game winning streak in all competitions, but they came off second-best in alarming circumstances as they were thrashed 47-16.
Next up in the Greene King IPA Championship is London Scottish, another of Rotherham’s rivals for a place in the top four.
Defeat today could see Rotherham slip out of the top four altogether, having led the division just two weeks ago.
It shows just how tight the battle is between the top five.
“I want a reaction from the guys today, this is a massive game for us and almost a must-win game,” said Blackett.
“It will be about doing all we can to get the result, not just about the performance.
“Last week was a reality check. Welsh were very good and we lost the physical battle, we got outmuscled and we lost the key contact areas.
“I’ve always said we’re outsiders to finish in the top four considering the depth of our squad, not in terms of talent, but in terms of numbers.”
Those numbers have dwindled even more in recent days.
Explosive No 10 Joel Hodgson, who returned to Rotherham this week, has once again been recalled by Newcastle Falcons to provide cover for the Premiership club at fly-half.
Rotherham are also without Laurence Pearce for the rest of the season and potentially Ben Harris, who has dislocated his shoulder and is unlikely to play again this term.
Barney Madison, one of three available second-row forwards on the books, is rated as 50-50 for today’s game while Ed Williamson is out for three weeks with a rib injury.
“We are going to have to be 100 per cent to beat Scottish,” added Blackett.
“I’ve always thought Scottish would be up there. Our best performance of the season was beating them by a point down at their patch. They are certainly not a team I under-estimate.
“They’ve got strength right across the board.”
Rotherham officials are set to announce where they will play their ‘home’ games next season should they win promotion to the Premiership.
Barnsley’s Oakwell stadium and Mansfield’s Field Mill – both football grounds – are understood to be the preferred venues should their ambitions be realised.