Schmid ready for the big league

Bedford 31 Rotherham 36
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The Independent Online

There is a resolve about Rotherham rugby club as they continue to the race for promotion to the Premiership. Problems, and in professional rugby there are always problems, are simply obstacles to be overcome, whether on or off the pitch.

Bedford were the latest to suffer, despite an excellent performance and leading by 18 points at half time. But three second-half tries allied to the accurate kicking of Ramiro Pez gave Rotherham victory, a bonus point and an almost unassailable position at the top of the table.

Make no mistake, they deserve the win and are determined to rejoin the big clubs in the big league and give a better account of themselves than they managed last season. Two victories were not enough then and part of the reason according to player coach, Mike Schmid was preparation.

"We had about two-thirds of a competitive squad last season," said Schmid. "I know there is still rugby to be played although we are now on a downward slope. But we are already thinking and preparing for next season in the Premier League. Last time from the play-off in May we had about one month to get a squad together, whereas this time we are already looking at players to bring in to the squad that we think are Premier League quality to add on to those we have and know are good enough."

However, if they fail to satisfy the Rugby Football Union's stipulations concerning ground ownership or primary tenancy it will not matter as they will not be promoted. "Off-field we have some things to work out,'' admitted Schmid. "We should find out next week if we can stay at Clifton Lane and develop the ground for rugby, but if not we have other options. There is Rotherham United football ground or the Don Valley Stadium where the Sheffield Eagles rugby league team play. Obviously all at the club would rather stay at Clifton Lane but if we have to move to play in the top league, we will move.

"It may not come to that and for the moment the players have to keep doing the right things on the pitch."

Just as they did in a near faultless second half comeback with the forwards supporting the ball upfield and when it was spread wide. A gritty and courageous fightback is exactly what they like in Yorkshire and how they will view next season if in the Zurich Premier League.

Bedford: J Pritchard; C Bajak (M Dawson, 63), E Jennings, L Martin, S Lincoln; J Shanahan, S Bell (capt); M Volland, C Thomas (L Gunnell, 55 (J Ross, 71)), C Horsman (J Brooks, 42), P Clarke (H Whitford, 24), P Rollason, F Fichot (M Cook, 74), H Fox, L White.

Rotherham: P Massey (capt); O Ripol, J Cannon, J Shepherd, M Wood; R Pez, D Scully; S Bunting, H Toews, L Bone (C Johnson, 49), G Kenworthy, D Cook (H Parr, 79), L Greef, A Tooala, R Earnshaw.

Referee: G Ashton-Jones (RFU)