As Rotherham Titans intensify their pre-season training, coach Lee Blackett has been impressed with the attitude and the contributions of his new signings who include 21-year-old centre Lloyd Hayes, writes Guy Williams.
A glimpse of Hayes’s potential was seen at Clifton Lane in January when he scored a try on his debut against Aberavon in the British and Irish Cup.
His try and all-round performance in what was a trial game for Hayes persuaded Rotherham to sign him for this coming season.
Blackett already knew of his ability by assessing the favourable reports of Hayes’s efforts for Chester in National Three North last season where he scored 31 league tries and also kicked 245 points,a return which enabled Chester to gain promotion.
Educated at Ellesmere College,the same school as Bill Beaumont, the former England captain, Hayes has strong roots in North Wales as the family home is at Mold near Wrexham.
Indeed, earlier this summer Wales asked him to join a Wales Sevens trial, but Hayes could not afford the travel costs, so now he is concentrating on his new career at Rotherham.
“When I came here for a trial, I liked the atmosphere and when I scored a try at the clubhouse end,I could not have asked for anymore,” he said. “I jumped in straight away after being offered the opportunity to play professional rugby.
“The new boys at Rotherham are bonding well; we have settled in and there is a buzz about the squad which has lots of potential.
“Playing in the Championship is a step up but I am confident about my ability.My long term ambition is to play in the first-team at Rotherham.
“I need to prove myself here and I would like one day to play in the Premiership, but the thing now is to concentrate on my fitness. The sessions at the Don Valley Stadium have been good.”
Now adjusting to life in Sheffield where he shares a house with three other new recruits, Hayes typifies the young talent Rotherham have the knack of spotting.