Win­less Rother­ham bat­tling to stop the rot

The Rugby Paper - - Greene King Ipa Championship - ■ By JON NEWCOMBE

ANDY KEY re­turns to Head­in­g­ley for the first time since he was sacked by Leeds in Fe­bru­ary 2011.

While per­sonal re­venge is not the type of lan­guage used by one of the game’s gen­tle­man, a vic­tory to­day would be sweeter than most.

And how Rother­ham could do with one.

Ma­rooned at the bot­tom of the Cham­pi­onship table after nine straight losses, the Ti­tans know that the clock is tick­ing on their time in the divi­sion.

“The club has a huge his­tory as far as its ex­is­tence in this league and ev­ery­one is fight­ing to make sure we re­tain that po­si­tion. Ev­ery week that goes by with­out a win, you are look­ing fur­ther down the bar­rel,” the Ti­tans head coach ad­mit­ted.

“There’s no club in the divi­sion that needs a win more than we do, and it will be huge for the con­fi­dence of ev­ery­one within the club once we get one.

“There are num­ber of guys in our squad that have come through the York­shire path­way, and ob­vi­ously I’ve been in­volved my­self, so it would be good if we were to do it this week­end.

“But we’re at the stage of the sea­son now where we’re half­way through and ev­ery game is mas­sively im­por­tant.”

Key has made three changes to the side that just missed out against Lon­don Sot­tish last week as the Ti­tans go in search of their first win at Carnegie’s HQ since 2014.

Along a reshuf­fled back­line Lee Mil­lar comes in and will start at full-back as Will Thomas moves onto the wing and Drew Cheshire shifts to cen­tre.

While in the pack Toby Wil­liams is given the nod at loose-head over Tom Wil­liams and Matt Postleth­waite comes into the sec­ond row as Adam Peters moves to No.8.

Key added: “As a group we have moved on from the Scot­tish dis­ap­point­ment be­hind us and con­cen­trate on this week­end against Carnegie. We know we’ll have a hard task on our hands and the lads have built on the con­fi­dence they got from what they did last week in what we thought should have been a win­ning per­for­mance.”

Carnegie name Bath new boy Darren Atkins on the bench.

The only change to the start­ing XV that beat Jersey is at full-back where fit-again Chris El­der re­places Ste­vie McColl, who has been ruled out with a thigh in­jury suf­fered in the win against the Reds.

With first-choice No.10s, Alex Davies (wrist) and Calum Irvine (an­kle) side­lined, cen­tre Pete Lu­cock con­tin­ues to act as a makeshift fly-half.

“Pete is a run­ner and if he gets spooked by any­thing, he’ll carry the ball. I do like that. We do miss an out-and-out 10 though, there’s no ques­tion,” said Carnegie head coach Jimmy Lowes.

Props Marc Thomas and Char­lie Beech, two 80minute per­form­ers in the 20-10 win over the Reds in St Peter, go again in the de­pleted front row. “We’re look­ing at a cou­ple of op­tions in that area,” Lowes ad­mit­ted.

Needs win: Andy Key

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