Rotherham Titans: New look side set for kick off

Justin Burnell
Justin Burnell
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Ten new Rotherham signings will make their debuts for the Titans tomorrow at Clifton Lane where their Championship campaign kicks off against London Welsh.

And when the replacements are taken into account, another six recruits are all set to make their first appearance in a competitive league match for their new club.

In the pack, prop Joe Rees and hooker Joe Graham start in the front row alongside Toby Williams, one of the few forwards retained by coach Justin Burnell.

The second row of Miles Normandale and Tom Hicks, both 6ft8, should win plenty of line out ball and three new players form a new back row which has power and speed.

Buster Lawrence, the ex-Moseley forward of whom much is expected, is selected at number eight and he is joined at the back of the scrum by flankers Ollie Curry, who moved from London Irish, and James Tyas, signed from Oxfordshire club Chinnor, but who also has league experience with Worcester and Cornish Pirates.

Interestingly, Burnell has picked two players in the backs who were playing in National One last season, the league below the Championship.

Centre Cameron Hudson and winger Jake Henry were at Wharfedale and Darlington Mowden Park respectively before joining Rotherham, but both have impressed in pre-season games and in training, so Burnell’s belief in their potential to succeed at a higher level is rewarded with Championship debuts.

Hudson will be playing alongside new Titans’ skipper Will Owen in a back line which has scrum half George Tresidder,previously at Leicester Tigers, partnering Will Robinson at half back against his old club.

The importance of fly half Robinson cannot be underestimated because of his role as goal kicker in a match that is expected to be close.

“I am sure we will surprise a few people this season,” Burnell said. “I am very happy with the way the boys have approached pre-season.

“They have worked hard and we have a competitive environment at Rotherham.

“As regards London Welsh, they have spent a lot of money on new players and according to some they are one of the favourites for promotion.

Burnell’s policy since he took over at Clifton Lane in February has been to strengthen the Rotherham forwards by signing big men with power and potential so that the Titans do not repeat last season’s poor form when the club had to fight hard to avoid relegation.

Titans to face London Welsh: Goodwin, Hayes, Hudson, Owen, Henry, Robinson, Tresidder, Rees, Graham, Toby Williams, Normandale, Hicks, Curry, Tyas, Lawrence.

Replacements: Maddison, Tom Williams, Herriott, Ramshaw, Grange, Dudman, Charlie Foley.