Rotherham’s new Irish number eight, Will Ryan, 23, was relieved to have a long weekend off following four weeks of tough pre-season training.
But after three days rest at home in Cork, it will be back today to the hard work in the Sheffield gym where the Titans do much of their fitness training.
Ryan, recruited from Cork Constitution, one of Ireland’s most famous clubs, was a major signing by coach Lee Blackett, who is convinced that his new forward has the potential to be a genuine success in the Championship.
“We are expecting big things from Will,” he said. “ He comes here with a good reputation and is fast and mobile.”
Ryan, whose brother John plays prop for Munster, played last season in the All Ireland League, but knows that the Championship will be a much harder competition.
“I watched Rotherham’s games against Bristol and the Championship is a tough league where the skills are much better and the players are bigger and more physical. So this is a step up for me.
“ I was recommended to join Rotherham by Sean Dougall, who had two seasons at Clifton Lane. I shared a house with him in Cork. Sean’s now playing flanker for Munster and he said I must come.
“ I also know Sean Scanlon, Rotherham’s full back. He played with my brother at Munster. Sean had great things to say about Rotherham.
“ I like the style of play which is to play at a high tempo. I like the ball in my hands. The pre-season has been tough, but I’m getting there.
“I’ve been impressed with the job Josh Fletcher, the strength and conditioning coach, is doing. He looks after each player individually, his monitoring is good and we have plenty of rest.”
Educated at the Christian Brothers College in Cork and at Cork’s Institute of Technology where he graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ryan’s club finished in the top half of the league but enjoyed much better form in the All Ireland Cup.
“We won the trophy by beating University College Dublin in the final. It was played at Cork in front of a crowd of 2,000. The atmosphere was great and it was the first thing I’ve won.
“Another highlight of my career so far was being selected for the All Ireland Club XV against English Counties. I played in both matches which we won and it was after the game in Darlington last season that Rotherham contacted me.
“The atmosphere at the club is very positive, the players are close and it’s great to be with five other Irish lads.
“I like the attention to detail shown by forwards’ coach Steve Salvin and if I can avoid injury, hopefully I can play regularly in the Championship.”