Anybody looking at today’s scoreline will have thought they had missed a 12 try thriller which was a great advert for Championship rugby. Sadly, that is not the case, because the first half was the most one sided game of rugby anyone could see.
Rotherham were a shambles, and Carnegie ran through their flimsy defence at will. The 4th, and bonus point try came with only 11 minutes showing on the clock, it looked as if we may have needed the cricket scoreboard to keep track.
The hosts were in front after less than 30 seconds. Having caught the kick off, they moved the ball wide, and Chris Elder strode through a massive hole in midfield, rounded the full back and raced in from 50 yards. Yorkshire caught the restart, charged up field, and had a half the pitch overlap to send Prell racing in. Another 5 minutes and a huge space on the opposite side of the pitch saw Jonah Holmes gallop over the whitewash, and when the forwards caught a line out in the visitors 22, Lewis Boyce was powered over. 4 excellent conversions from Joe Ford, and it was 28 – 0. Apart from the restarts, Titans hadn’t touched the ball.
With a bit of help from ‘Sir’, Roth gained a bit of territory, but on 25 minutes, Burrows and Elder combined to gain ground, and Davies was on hand to take the final pass and cross un-opposed.
Joe Graham entered the fray, and eventually the Titans managed to go through the phases and cross by the posts. They were still congratulating themselves when Ford took the restart, because Prell caught the kick, and despite being hemmed in on the touchline, he brushed aside 3 attempted tackles and scored in the corner. Joe kept his 100% record, and the teams went in for their lemons with Carnegie leading 42 – 7. The only downside was a yellow card for Ryan Burrows for an alleged high tackle. Considering the ref had ignored an identical tackle in the build up to Davies’ try, it seemed a bit harsh.
Roth started the second half much better, and Ben West joined Buzz in the sin bin. The visitors used their 2-man advantage to score another converted try, but Carnegie increased their lead, when Stevie McColl went over following a good passage of play.
The Titans responded with another try, and when Matt Smith was the third Leeds player to visit the bin, Rotherham took advantage of the extra man, and some woeful midfield defence to cross for a bonus point try.
Carnegie should have scored again when they won a line out close to the visitors line, but the chance went begging when Mike Mayhew threw far too long. As it turned out, it didn’t matter. When Roth cleared, Holmes, and then Prell made good ground, and Elder was in support to go over for his sides eighth try. Joe slotted the conversion, and the game ended with a 56 – 26 victory for the home side.
A bonus point victory against local rivals is not to be sniffed at, but, it is hard to recall a worse team performance from any Championship side than that which Rotherham delivered in the first 40 minutes. Without the yellow cards, Leeds may well have ended up running in a cricket score, as it was the poor discipline, (two of the yellow cards were un-necessary and poor), poor line outs, and conceding penalties kept the score down. Some of the midfield defence was poor as well. Not for the first time this season we allowed our opponents a bonus point try having played them off the park for most of the game, and if we can’t sort these issues out shortly, we will find it hard to push for promotion.
Joe Ford kicked immaculately from the tee, but his overall display wasn’t good, but a lot of players took advantage of Roths first half display to run hard and gain good ground. A few contenders for man of the match. Elder, Plug, Buzz, and Rich Mayhew were in the thick of it most of the game, and Jonah did well with the ball in hand, but my pop is going to Taylor Prell. He always looked dangerous, and took his second try magnificently.
So, we move on, and because of the remaining fixtures, a win next time up against Pirates will almost guarantee a play-off place at least, and that will be the first objective of this season met with plenty of games still to play.
Strange that a 30 point victory in a local derby, scoring 8 tries, is not see as an unqualified success? But, in agreement with Hax's report, there were times in the second half when we did not do ourselves justice.
As ever, things to work on, and if we ever get it completely right - watch out London Irish!
It was a game against a totally inept side who were speedily blown away in the first ten minutes, and they had to wait for our inevitable yellow cards before they began to play. Such a match could never be called an unqualified success. YC were brilliant against this poor opposition, but it is highly unlikely they would have come close to 50+ points against Jersey or Trailfinders et al. As Brush said in his post-match, still a lot to look at, especially the careless indicipline. Do that against LI and we'll get the same treatment as we gave Roth.
Roth looked like the team had just met each other that morning. Lineout was needlessly complicated disaster till Graham came on.
That said the back 3, especially Elder were good. He is a great runner from fullback. Hope Casson is ok as he and Lucock make a good pair. Prell took his chance too. Great hand off of there 8.
Need to cut out the pens though.
Doesn't look like anyone's got much to say about this game - which is a bit surprising.
Although Hax has probably said all that needs to be said.
I'm afraid I lost interest in the results and the table some time before Xmas when it became apparent that making the play-offs was unlikely to go to the wire.
Certainly we're playing well enough but the obvious flaws are still there for all to see. Our attack has improved and defence is clearly coming together. And yet.. and yet.. Do we own the set piece? Will we ever have a dominating scrum? Is the lineout clinically efficient? Can we get through a match without a card? Should LI be shaking?
Instead of the match result, individual and the team performances take on importance now because we're looking for something that will stand up to serious pressure when we mount a challenge at the end of the season. I was looking forward to a gritty and hard fought first half that we would just edge before the whistle. Unfortunately (yes I mean it) a kick-off and try in a matter of seconds took a lot of interest out of the match as a contest. 10 minutes later and I started to lose concentration on what was happening on the pitch. If Roth hadn't brought Joe on they might have offered nothing in the first half, but they did and then they started to fire. Our response to that pressure is a bit worrying. I understand what Hax is saying about reffing inconsistency of the high tackle but Buzz should listen to what Brian Moore said today in his column 'you can't complain about marginal decision's inconsistency - don't make it marginal'. Having said that it did look a bit obvious even from the south stand - he risked a red card for an irrelevant 7 pts in that moment. And then what on earth was Smithy up to? Hadn't discipline been underlined in the HT talk?
My main questions though are: will Luckock and Elder be the centre partnership now or will Casson manage to put together a run of games? And who will be the first choice locks - will they stay fit?
Who starts in the front row when it matters?
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