Titans look to prove pedigree once again

Rotherham Titans head coach Lee Blackett
Rotherham Titans head coach Lee Blackett
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Rotherham Titans coach Lee Blackett is confident his side can finally overcome their inability to defeat a top-four side this evening.

Although they have been ever-present in the Championship’s leading quartet all season heading into the penultimate round of fixtures, Rotherham have never actually beaten a title rival.

They have fallen against Bristol and London Welsh twice and also lost 19-10 at Leeds Carnegie in November.

However, they tackle their Yorkshire rivals once more at Abbeydale Stadium in Sheffield tonight and Blackett has seen enough evidence from their last meeting to suggest they could finally end that frustrating run.

“We were disappointed that day,” he recalled. “We created enough chances, but the Leeds defence proved to be really outstanding.

“We left a lot of points out there, though, and hopefully it’ll be different come Saturday and we’ll take those opportunities.

“We take confidence from that last game by the fact we did create just so many opportunities.”

The victors tonight will also almost certainly secure third spot in the final standings, Leeds currently holding it only by virtue of a marginally better points difference.

Whatever, both sides are already confirmed in the play-offs and Blackett sees no reason why his unfancied side – who have surprised so many this term with their pedigree and sustained challenge – cannot upset the status quo further.

“We’ve got to (fancy ourselves),” said the youthful head coach who, only last season was still playing on the wing for Rotherham.

“On our day we’re a very dangerous side.

“When you look at the other three sides in the top four they are spending a lot more money than us and have got bigger squads so, for those reasons, they will fancy taking us on as they can cope with injuries and the like. But you never know.”

Leeds, meanwhile, have been boosted by the return of Stevie McColl, the classy full-back who has signed for Gloucester next season but has not featured since injuring his thumb in January,