Strengthening the scrum, in particular the front row, was one of the major aims of Rotherham coach Lee Blackett who was concerned that the Titans’ pack had not been strong enough in the play-offs last season against Bristol.
So the signing of 24-year- old Adam Macklin, a prop from Ulster, was regarded as a significant step in the right direction. Macklin’s experience is impressive having played just over 30 times for Ulster in both the Heineken Cup and in the league against the top Irish,Welsh,Scottish and Italian teams.
“I made my debut in the Heineken Cup in 2012 against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road and then came off the bench again against Edinburgh in the semi-finals.
“It was definitely disappointing not to be in the Ulster squad for the final against Leinster, but I think my experience of playing for Ulster will help Rotherham.
“The perception last season was that Rotherham struggled against the top three sides in the scrums. This season the priority is to improve the scrums and line-outs so that the backs have even better ball. I’ve been impressed with Lee Blackett’s management of the sessions when we’ve handling the ball and I believe he has improved the squad.
“The squad is highly competitive, I can tell that the good team spirit will continue and already we are a tightly knit group. ”
Macklin has been able to settle in quickly because Rotherham employ some familiar Irish faces.
“I grew up in Belfast with James McKinney, the new fly half. We played against each other at school level. His school, Campbell College and mine Methodist College, were great rivals.
“ I also know from the Ulster set-up flanker Ali Birch and I’ve played against number eight Will Ryan who’s joined from Munster.”
Having played for Ulster’s senior side and for Ireland in the 2009 Junior World Cup and in the U-20s Six Nations, Macklin joins Rotherham with a solid pedigree.