ROTHERHAM Titans coach Andre Bester believes this weekend’s clash with third-placed Bedford will give him the best indication yet as to where his team stands in terms of its play-off potential.
The Titans head to Goldington Road on the back of a workmanlike 20-8 win over strugglers Plymouth last week and looking for a first win there in five years.
While the performance may not have been pretty at Clifton Lane last week, the necessary result was secured and Bester has made four changes to the starting line-up from last weekend.
Club captain Sam Dickinson returns at lock for Barney Maddison, while in the front row Shane Cahill comes in for Jamie Kilbane at loose head prop and Dan Baines replaces Ted Stagg at hooker.
The only change in the backs sees Jimmy Williams given the No 9 shirt ain preference to Matt Rhodes.
“We know they are capable of playing the complete game,” warned Bester. “They play a very entertaining game and with a very quick tempo and quick hands.
“This game will serve as a barometer for us and it will enable us to see exactly where we are and what we need to do come play-off time.
“For me that is what the Bedford match is all about and we’ll have a good idea of where we are in the big picture.
“Of all the top sides I think London Welsh and Bedford have shown the most consistency over recent weeks.”
Leeds Carnegie’s head coach Diccon Edwards has made two changes to his side for when they face Cornish Pirates at Headingley Carnegie tomorrow (3pm) as they look back to bounce back from last week’s 33-19 defeat at leaders Bristol.
Tom Denton is ruled out through a shoulder injury and is replaced by Sean Hohneck in the second row. In the back row, Danny Paul comes in for Chris Walker. Tight-head prop Kane Palma-Newport will make his home debut following his arrival on loan from Bath
Edwards will be hoping his side can significantly improve on the 52-10 drubbing they received in Cornwall back in September.
“We found to our own cost how good they can be when they are at their best from our game in Cornwall earlier this season,” said Edwards. “We need to make sure that we match their level of performance.”
Doncaster Knights head down to London Scottish hoping to bounce back from the narrow 17-15 defeat they suffered at Moseley last Saturday.
Brett Davey – whose team beat Scottish 37-28 at Castle Park back in September – has been forced to name himself among the replacements, so widely is his squad affected by injuries.
Regular starters Alex Brown and PJ Gidlow remain on the sidelines, along with veteran player-coach Glen Kenworthy, prop Andy Brown and long-term absentees; Lee Audis, Adam Kettle and Mike Whitehead.
Doncaster are one place, but 14 points ahead of their hosts.