With Rotherham’s players having the week off so that they are refreshed for the Championship promotion play-offs, starting a week tomorrow, Titans’ coach Andre Bester has been working flat out on his plans for next season.
At least three existing players have accepted new contracts: scrum half Matt Rhodes and two of the club’s best young forwards, Ben Harris and Dan Baines.
“I’m delighted to be staying at Rotherham where my rugby has improved this season,” says Baines who joined from Macclesfield last summer.
Baines, has recently been converted into a hooker and expects to play in the position once the play-offs begin a week on Saturday against Bedford at Clifton Lane. Harris is also switching positions; in his case from second row to prop.
Bester believes that Harris’s size will turn him into a formidable prop and when he forms a partnership next season in the front row with Rob O’Donnell, who is also staying next season, Rotherham, potentially, have one of the most threatening front three in the Championship.
As well re-signing those players he wishes to retain and recruiting new players, Bester is also discussing with Rotherham’s directors their budget plans for next season. Like many Championship sides, Rotherham are not awash with money. The 12 clubs in the league are appealing to the RFU to increase funding from £270,000 a season per club.
So far, Twickenham has not promised any extra cash and nor have the RFU managed to attract a Championship sponsor. Given economic conditions, it’s difficult to see how Rotherham can increase their budget beyond the present figure of about £400,000; which is why Bester’s achievement of taking Titans into the play-offs is considerable bearing in mind the resources of Rotherham’s competitors.