‘Disjointed’ Titans must cut out mistakes, urges coach Jones

Rotherham Titans v Jersey.
Rotherham Titans v Jersey.
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FRUSTRATED Rotherham Titans head coach Mark Jones has urged for more “clarity” from his side or they will risk losing touch with the Championship top four.

They head to Richmond today to face London Scottish, still mulling over last week’s embarrassing 27-6 home defeat against Jersey.

That was perhaps Rotherham’s worst display of the season and one which saw them drop to sixth in the league, five points adrift of Bedford Blues in fourth.

Jones has reacted by making five changes to his starting line-up this weekend and admitted: “We’ll aim to have more clarity about how we want to play the game.

“We’ll need to up our physicality, intensity and execution and if we get those aspects right we’ll give ourselves an opportunity. We had a pretty poor performance all round last week against Jersey.

“We looked disjointed in most aspects of our game and then because we were disjointed we became isolated as individuals.

“Then we got dominated physically, particularly in the contact area. We carried the ball in isolation, got dominated in the collision and subsequently the speed of the ball was compromised, which then means the next guy carrying is in a worse place.

“We have to get that element of our game right and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes this week, because if we do the outcome will be the same.”

Like Rotherham, Scottish reached the top-four play-offs themselves last season before losing to Worcester who eventually gained promotion to the Premiership.

Strangely, though, they are down in ninth this term, closer to the relegation zone than promotion having won just four of their 10 league games so far.

However, Rotherham have only won once their before in their history – in 2013 – and Jones warned: “Scottish have a very good squad of players.

“Their league position at the moment doesn’t represent the quality of their squad and their coaching team and I think you saw that in their performance against (leaders) Bristol last week.

“They’ve got a very athletic back five, their second row guys are monsters and their back row is very effective in the contact area with lots of ball carriers. Their outside backs are very good with ball in hand; they’ve got a lot of pace and they manage the kicking game very well.

“However, we can’t worry too much about what the opposition may or may not do; we’ll focus more on our own performance and what we want to achieve in the game.”

Rotherham fly-half James McKinney start his first game since suffering a knee injury in April coming in for Ross Jones.

Tighthead Mark Tampin replaces Lewis Thiede and Toby Salmon starts his first Championship game at second-row for Barney Maddison who moves to blindside flanker, with Tim Cree returning from injury to replace Ali Birch at openside.