The threat lurking at Clifton Lane
May 29, 2000
Rotherham skipper Mike Schmid looked ahead to a Premiership future and declared: "No-one will like coming to Clifton Lane."
The Canadian number eight led a rearguard action at Bedford yesterday as his team hung on to their 20-point first-leg advantage in nail-biting fashion at Goldington Road.
Bedford won the match 14-0, courtesy of two converted second-half penalty tries, and dominated for much of the afternoon.
But when referee Ed Morrison blew the final whistle, Yorkshire had a Premiership side for the first time and some of England's most illustrious names will have to search for a new destination on their road map.
When they arrive at the homely Rotherham ground, they will find a tight, compact ground, cramped changing rooms and a good-natured crowd always willing to offer advice from their position close to the pitch.
With 22 straight wins behind them, it is their home form which will dictate whether Rotherham's first season in the top flight, following six promotions since league rugby was founded in 1987, is a success.
But Schmid feels his team are up to the task. "We have always backed ourselves to beat anybody. Clifton Lane is not the most hospitable place to come for a game and I'm sure we will give everyone a battle up there.
"When things were going against us yesterday, we dug in and reminded ourselves that we were playing for the right to be in the First Division. I have to admit it was a relief when the whistle went. It has been a long, hard year and when we run out for the first game next season, people will have to accept what a remarkable feat we have achieved."
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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