Tom Hicks, 24, one of several new forwards signed by Rotherham coach Justin Burnell, returns to Northampton Saints on Saturday as the Titans play their second pre-season friendly.
Second row Hicks began his professional career straight from school at Northampton and then spent another three seasons at Gloucester before joining Rotherham in May.
Hicks, 6ft 8ins is the tallest player at Clifton Lane. He said: “I’ve been very impressed with the professional set-up here. I’ve been with two Premiership clubs, and I can say that everything at Titans is what you’d expect. It’s been great to train at the EIS in Sheffield. I’ve seen Jessica Ennis-Hill and Anthony Joshua. I was tempted to speak to Jessica, but I didn’t want to interrupt her!
“Justin has brought in some excellent forwards, so competition is tough and I certainly won’t walk into the team. The Northampton match will be hard and will show how far we’ve developed” added Hicks.
The Clifton Lane giant played 14 games for Gloucester, including a memorable appearance against Munster in the Heineken Cup. “I was up against my childhood idol Paul O’Connell, the great Irish and British Lions second row. I actually stole a line out ball from him - that’s my claim to fame.
“Now my ambition is to play regularly which wasn’t possible at Northampton and Gloucester, so when the opportunity came to join Rotherham I was happy to take it.”
In six years of professional rugby, Hicks said: “I’ve not had a season where I could express what I could do. I want, therefore, to get into the team and perform solidly.
“The Titans squad is very ambitious and determined to do a lot better than last year. We want to get Rotherham back to where they should be in a very challenging league.”
When it comes to selection for the first Championship game against London Welsh in a fortnight, Hicks will be competing for a place against Miles Martindale(Cardiff Blues), Ollie Curry(London Irish), Darren Oliver(RAF and Combined Services) and Toby Salmon, now in his second season at the Titans.