Competition for places in Rotherham’s Championship match-day squad is razor sharp, not least when it comes to the key position of fly half.
The choice is between Ulsterman James McKinney and 22-year-old Tom Barrett, who scored more than 300 points for Wharfedale in National One last season, the second highest.
Barrett, a Philosophy student at Leeds University, had started his career at Leeds Carnegie, playing three games in the British and Irish Cup during the 2011-12 season.
He then moved to Doncaster Knights for an unsatisfactory season and left following the club’s relegation in the spring of 2013.
“I owe Wharfedale a lot but the Championship is a massive step up for me.
“ In National One, you are able to get away with things. You are training only two nights a week, but here you are full time.
“One of my motivating factors in coming to Rotherham is to prove to myself that I’m good enough to play in the Championship. If I didn’t think I could do it, I wouldn’t be getting up on some mornings at 5.45 to drive to training.
“I know I need to improve defensively if I’m to play consistently in the Championship, and while I know that my game-management improved at Wharfedale, I’m still learning.
“Joining Rotherham is a great opportunity for me.It will be tough to get into the side because James McKinney is a quality player from a good level.
“But it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to and Leen Blackett is a fair coach who’s said that players who do well in training and in games will be rewarded.
“When Lee was at Leeds in his final season, I played a few games with him and since becoming the Rotherham coach, he has created a positive and welcoming atmosphere.
“ I want to show that I’m good enough. This pre-season has been tough and the hardest I’ve experienced but I feel I’m making progress.”