As Rotherham Titans prepare for this Sunday’s match away to Birmingham-Solihull in the British and Irish Cup, it’s clear that the main focus of attention at Clifton Lane is making sure that the top players are mentally and physically in shape for the Championship promotion play-offs next month and in April.
Coach Andre Bester is also concentrating on strengthening his first team squad for next season; while he is delighted with the progress made by several of the younger players, such as forwards Ben Harris, James Sandford and Ryan Burrows and backs Juan Pablo Socino and Cliffie Hodgson, Bester still feels the need to recruit to take the club further up the Championship table next season.
Rotherham’s South African coach is highly ambitious and will not regard his second period at Clifton Lane to be a success until Rotherham are capable of reaching the Premiership.
That cannot be achieved by the present squad, but it might if the best players are persuaded to remain and Bester recruits successfully in the next three to four months.
He has identified the positions that can be improved and the players to fill them; some of the existing first team squad will not be retained.
Bester has a clear vision as to where he wants to take Rotherham and with the directors also keen to put in place the structure needed to turn Rotherham into a top Championship club, the future may be brighter than in recent seasons.
The competition facing the Titans, now and next season, from clubs such as Bedford, Nottingham, Doncaster, London Welsh and Cornish Pirates is growing fiercer, so the challenge to develop into a top five side and beyond is immense.
Probable squad to face Birmingham-Solihull: Du Randt,Welding,Hampsey,McMahon,Hunt,Rhodes,Bedford, M.James,S.James,George,Baines,White,McGowan, Harris,Donaghue,Kettle,Wade, Aikman, Kirby, Jackson, McGregor, Godfrey, Swatkins.