Rotherham’s first home match of the new season on Saturday against Plymouth Albion may turn out to be a special occasion in the career of 22-year-old Lloyd Hayes.
After making a full league debut at full back in the win at Bedford, Hayes is hoping he’ll begin a league game for the first time at Clifton Lane.
Now in his second Rotherham season following two years at Chester and before that in Italy, Hayes, from North Wales, has had to make an important positional change.
“I’ve always played centre, but Lee Blackett, (coach,) is moving me to full back” he says. “Lee knows his stuff and I like the space you get playing at 15, so I’m happy. Sean Scanlon, whose place I took at Bedford because he had an ankle injury, helps me.
“We may be competitors, but we are team-mates. Lee was happy with my performance at Bedford but I’m still learning about positioning skills. It was a great moment to be told I was starting. I was proud and felt comfortable against Bedford and I did what I was asked to do. Because of the history between Rotherham and Bedford, it was great to get an away win.”
Hayes’ potential was spotted before he’d signed forms to join the Titans.
Selected to play against Aberavon in the British and Irish Cup at Clifton Lane in January last year-Hayes was on trial- he sparkled, scoring a try and having impressed with his all-round skills, Blackett offered him a contract.
Having tasted professional rugby last season, the 2014-15 campaign is a most important period in Hayes’ development.
!I want to reach my potential and to prove that I can play in the Championship. The standard is much higher than I’ve played at, but I’m feeling confident.”