Rotherham Titans kick off their new league season tomorrow in the Greene King IPA Championship with 11 new signings in the starting line-up against Moseley.
Six new faces in the backs and five in the pack have been picked by coach Lee Blackett for the opener against the Birmingham club which takes place at Castle Park, home of Doncaster Knights.
The game kicks off at 1pm with the Roth-Moseley contest being followed at 3pm by Leeds v Nottingham; the double header is part of the RFU’s launch of the new Championship season.
The Rotherham three quarters are to all intents and purposes a brand new back line: Irishmen Sean Scanlon and Michael Keating, ex-Doncaster, are picked at full back and on the left wing respectively, and in the centres, Welshman Jack Roberts, signed from Llandovery, forms a partnership with Juan Pablo Socino as the Argentinean returns to play for Rotherham.
The former Sheffield Tigers back, Jamie Broadley, plays on the right wing, and fly half position is taken by Dallan Murphy from Brisbane. In the forwards, Blackett has selected new signings hooker Tom Cruse and prop Colin Quigley in the front row, and the back row trio of Ed Williamson, formerly at Newcastle Falcons and London Welsh, Ali Birch from Ulster and Alfie To’oala, who has rejoined Rotherham following spells at Bristol, Leeds and London Welsh.
“It was really difficult to pick the side. There were many tough decisions and close calls,” admits Blackett,the youngest coach in the Championship.
“For instance, it shows how well Jamie Broadley has been playing and training that he has kept out Curtis Wilson on this occasion. Joel Gill has been outstanding too in pre-season, but Jack Roberts is preferred in the centre. We have gelled well and everyone is raring to go. There is a great feeling and the first match of the new season is a big occasion because we have worked so hard off and on the field.”
Blackett added: “As regards Moseley, they have recruited well and will be one of the most improved teams in the Championship this season.
“Moseley will be a force and they have players who have played in the Heineken Cup, so it will be a tough start for us.”