Rotherham Titans chairman Nick Cragg admits it will be considered a failure if the club does not break into the top-six of the Greene King IPA Championship this season.
The entrepreneur installed Lee Blackett as first-team head coach this summer and has put together a squad that he says will play an attractive brand of rugby. As well a new coach, there have been a 22 new players added to the squad this summer.
Titans have secured Dallan Murphy from Queensland Reds, a player who Cragg believes could prove to be the best number 10 in the Championship – as well as the return of Juan Pablo Socino. They have also added Alfie To’oala and retained scrum-half Charlie Mulchrone.
After finishing seventh last season, Cragg is confident of his team’s chances of improving on that.
“I’m very excited for the new season,” Cragg said. “We have a great group of lads and I’m more positive than I have been in previous years. We have a great balance of experience and youth, dynamic backs and some great individuals. Juan Pablo Socino was our record point’s scorer two seasons ago and to have him back is a big one for us.”
He added: “Charlie (Mulchrone) is also an exceptional talent and the signing of Dallan could prove to be a big piece of business so we have to be optimistic with what we have got.
He added: “We want better, but we have to face realities, teams like London Welsh, Bristol and Leeds all have much more financial muscle than us, and more than likely, they will feature in the top-six, but I would definitely not rule us out this year.”
Rotherham completed their pre-season schedule last weekend at Macclesfield after beating both Loughborough Students and Macclesfield 26-5 and 52-3 respectively and Cragg believes the Titans will be fully prepared when they travel to Moseley on September 14 for the start of the new season.
“From what I have seen we are playing lovely fluid rugby from the back, and in the games we have played, teams have really struggled to deal with that. We have achieved all our objectives during this pre-season and managed to steer clear of injuries.
“It is always a delicate situation trying to avoid picking up injuries, but this year we will be going into the season with a good bill of health, so there is no reason why we can’t succeed.