Instead of fighting for each other in the same Rotherham side as they did last season, the two Maddison brothers, Barney and Charlie, will be at each other’s throat on Sunday when Rotherham and London Welsh launch their new Championship campaigns at Clifton Lane.
Second row forward Barney, one of the best in the league, enjoyed five successful seasons at Rotherham before leaving to join London Welsh earlier this year.
He made more than 90 appearances for the Titans following his debut in September 2011. He was a consistent performer in many aspects of the game, and also showed much character in overcoming nasty injuries that enabled him to recover and continue to make a big impact in the Championship.
One of the highlights of his career at Rotherham was contesting the promotion play-offs against Bristol in May 2015.
The decision of London Welsh to recruit Barney was not a surprise because in his position he is one of the outstanding line out men in the league, one of the most respected of opponents and also one of the toughest and strongest of operators in mauls and rucks.
Barney was signed from Tynedale RUFC at Hexham in Northumberland, the same club where his younger brother began his career.
Hooker Charlie, now in his second season at the Titans, joined Rotherham from Darlington Mowden Park and settled in quickly to the demands of professional rugby.
In all competitions to date, he has played in just over 20 games, and was one of the few forwards retained by coach Justin Burnell in the spring.
A good attacking player in open play, 24-year-old Charlie has the potential to be a major threat in a much stronger Titans pack this season, and because of the competition he faces from new signings Luke Cole (Gloucester) and Joe Graham (Yorkshire Carnegie), he will be forced to improve his all round game.
The outcome of this Sunday’s game will be decided by the comparative efforts of the rival packs with the Maddison brothers playing major roles, but on different sides for a change.