ROTHERHAM Titans have signed one of Ireland’s most talented young players, Ulster Ravens’ fly-half, James McKinney, who made a strong impression when he played at Clifton Lane just before Christmas in the British and Irish Cup.
McKinney, 21, has played for Ireland in the last two Junior World Cups which were held in Argentina and Italy.
An accurate goal kicker and a skilful passer, McKinney also has genuine pace and, given his potential, he ought to make an impact in the Championship.
In the 2010 Junior World Cup, playing for Ireland U-21s, McKinney’s goal kicking strike rate reached 83 per cent.
Now that he has been recruited, the question arises as to where Rotherham’s fly-half from last season, Garry Law, who has signed a two year extension to his contract, will play.
The current thinking at Clifton Lane is that Law, the Championship’s leading points scorer last season with more than 200 in all league games, will move to outside centre to accommodate McKinney.
There had been speculation that Law would switch to full back, but following the departure of Tom Foden, who played at number 15 during the last campaign, coach Andre Bester will be announcing shortly the identity of a replacement.
Rotherham’s coach is genuinely excited about being able to persuade a player of McKinney’s potential to move from Belfast to play in the Championship, not least because he is leaving the Irish province which has reached the final of the Heineken Cup and a coaching set-up which is well known for bringing out the best of Ulster’s developing players.