After an injury-plagued 2014, Rotherham Titans prop Marshall Gadd knows being the club captain doesn’t guarantee him a place in the starting line-up.
Gadd missed out on the Titans’ play-off losses to Bristol at the end of the season after multiple ailments left him sidelined for over four months, by which time Toby Williams had replaced him in the pecking order.
But with Rotherham kicking off their new Greene King IPA Championship season on Saturday at London Scottish the former Moseley man is keen to start the new year a fresh.
“Last year I was out with an injury for a long time, but being captain doesn’t give you the right to play,” he said.
“The loosehead position is one of the strongest at the club and the coach says there’s a flick of the coin between the three of us.
“It was disappointing not to play in the playoff games last year because I thought I was playing pretty well before the injury.
“I spent four and a half months out and the boys who came in took their opportunity so it was hard to get back in when I was fully fit going into the playoffs.
“At Rotherham you encourage the players who are in your position to make it their own rather than being annoyed or angry with them when you’re not playing.
“It’s a team result, so we encourage the guys coming through and if they take their opportunity then that’s fantastic.”
Gadd admits Rotherham’s fourth-place finish last season could be seen as an overachievement for the club, but is confident on a repeat performance if his side perform to the levels they set last term.
With big-spending Bristol Rugby being joined by recently relegated Worcester Warriors the battle for the top four is sure to be tougher than ever.
But Gadd insists Rotherham’s new recruits will have the talent to compete with the best of them, insisting each player coming in has to buy in to the Titans’ ethos and visions for the future.
“We haven’t got the budget that the big teams have, but we’ve got to pick the gems out from the lower leagues and bring them into the culture we are trying to build at Rotherham,” he continued.
“Rotherham are renowned for not being a wealthy club and people come for the opportunity because they can see what we are trying to create and the style of rugby that we play.
“It’s an exciting brand of rugby and where we finished last year is all pretty encouraging.”
* Formed in 2009, the Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby union in England. To keep up-to-date with all the latest news follow @ChampRugby on Twitter, or visit www.rfu.com/championship