As Rotherham Titans began their pre-season training this week, with little more than 50 days before the first Championship match of the new campaign at London Scottish, forwards coach Ben Wade has fired a warning to the Clifton Lane club’s opponents:
“We have a bigger pack this year and now that we are training full time every day we are aiming to finish higher in the Championship than we did last season,” he said.
With 20 new recruits, who include two powerful Tongan forwards, Semisi Taulava and Talite Vaioleti, coach Andre Bester has concentrated on strengthening Rotherham’s pack.
No 8 Taulava said: “I joined because Rotherham are ambitious, and I want to make sure we achieve our goal which is to make the promotion play-offs.”
Taulava has played for Taranaki and Wanganui in New Zealand and his size and experience will be vital. “Andre has recruited a really good squad. A lot of the younger players will keep everyone on their toes, so there’s competition for places,” he added
Two of the other major signings in the forwards made by Bester, who has retained fewer than 10 of last season’s first-team squad, are locks Robin Copeland, ex-Plymouth, and Adrian Griffiths who has joined from Birmingham-Solihull.
Formerly at Bath Academy, Griffiths is impressed with Rotherham’s new pack. “We have a big group of forwards and if we can get on the front foot, I don’t see many people competing with us. Our prospects are strong” he said.
If Rotherham are to achieve their target of finishing again in the top eight of the Championship, much will depend on goal kicking accuracy.
Scotsman Garry Law is the man to kick goals, arriving via Hawick, Border Reivers and two recent clubs in Italy, Viadana and Lazio of Rome.
“I’ve kicked all my life and I’ve been a professional for six seasons, so I’m used to the pressure,” he said.
“I could have remained in Italy, but I’ve never played in the Championship before, so I thought I would give it a bash.
n New signings: Forwards: Adrian Griffiths, Ben Hooper, Neale Patrick, Robin Copeland, Semisi Taulava,Talite Vaioleti, Ted Stagg. Backs:Garry Law, Dave Marshall, Elliot Brierley Palepoi Nonu, Shane Monahont, Tom Foden, Steve Hamilton.