Rotherham Titans: No risky business with Tom Cruse return

Tom Cruse
Tom Cruse
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Much to everyone’s relief at Clifton Lane, hooker Tom Cruse will be fit for Saturday’s Championship game at home against Cornish Pirates.

Cruse – one of the club’s most influential forwards – has made a quick recovery from the shoulder injury he picked up during last Friday’s remarkable league win at Yorkshire Carnegie.

“I’m pleased with my shoulder. Don’t worry, I’m going to be OK. As a precaution, I didn’t take part in the forwards’ training session on Tuesday, but I was watching and taking note,” said the 25-year-old from Stockport, in his second season at the Titans.

With two tries against Bedford and another two in Belfast against Ulster Ravens in the British and Irish Cup, Cruse’s speed and clever running angles have turned him into one of the most dangerous forwards in the Championship, hence his selection for the league’s representative side against Canada three weeks ago.

But Cruse’s thoughts now are on the clash against Pirates: “This will be a big test for us up front. We believe we’ve come a long way with our forwards’ play this season.

“I don’t think Pirates are going to be at the wrong end of the table for long, so our performance against them will show how far as a pack we’ve improved. This is a big game to be honest.

“We showed against Yorkshire Carnegie that the pack and, indeed the whole team, can defend for long periods.

“One of my objectives this season was to be much more physical, to be dominant in collisions and to improve the defensive part of my game. I’m also trying hard to turn the ball over more, working like a flanker if you like.

“One thing I’ve noticed this season is that the Championship is stronger. For example, Moseley beating London Scottish at the weekend was a hell of a result, Nottingham are getting better and Doncaster, who were promoted, are going well.”

“After Pirates, we’re away at Bristol, the Championship leaders, a week on Sunday. We’ve a point to prove because they beat us five times last season- twice in the league, twice in the play-offs and they knocked Rotherham out of the B and I Cup.”

And talking of the Cup, Cruse believes the competition has benefits which disarm its critics.

“The fact that we reached the quarter finals last season highlighted how much it meant to the club. So far, we’ve won all our three games this time , it’s important financially and gives the boys the experience of playing at other grounds.”

With hooker Scott Freer still many weeks away from playing and Rotherham’s other number two, Johnny Matthews, not being quite ready yet for Championship rugby, it is essential that Cruse not only stays fit, but that his improved all-round game continues to make progress.