Langley gets the new boys over the line with a bonus
FLANKER Rob Langley inspired the Championship new boys to their first league win after an impressive performance at Clifton Lane.
They earned a maximum five points as Rotherham’s miserable start to the season continued.
The Titans, losing by four tries to two, have now lost three consecutive matches in which they have conceded 16 tries, little wonder the Yorkshire team are struggling at the bottom of the Championship.
By contrast, Hartpury, who led 19-6 at half time and then resisted a strong Rotherham fightback, were able to build on promising displays against Bristol and Jersey as the Gloucestershire club showed again they were able to compete at a higher standard.
Hartpury coach John Barnes said: “I’m pretty happy and to get our first win away from home is a bonus.
“We made hard work of it because Rotherham really came at us at the start of the second half and our nerves started to go, but we got back into it and regained control.”
Tries by scrum half Harry Randall, wingers Elias Caven and Harry Cochrane and replacement prop Tom Heard not only revealed Hartpury’s skill and pace, but also exposed Rotherham’s weaknesses in defence.
The Titans fought back strongly in the second half and were trailing by only 22-21 following tries by flanker Adam Peters and winger Jake Henry, and two successful kicks from fly half Lee Millar, to suggest a hint of a first win.
However, the league’s newcomers overcame a poor period and finished the contest with authority. Heard was driven over for a converted try, and soon afterwards, Hartpury’s 29-21 lead was stretched to a comfortable 32-21 as replacement fly-half James Williams struck a penalty to confirm a memorable result.
Rotherham’s problems in attack and defence need solving quickly if another weak season is to be avoided, but coach Andy Key sees promising signs of a recovery:
“We are not a side that’s going to die. It’s only three games into the season and we saw for 60 minutes what we were capable of.
“I was pleased with the second half which we won. Our pace and fitness showed, but what did for us was 25 minutes in the first half when they scored three tries after our good start.”