New look for Rotherham Titans as the season looms

Steve Salvin

Steve Salvin

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Four of Rotherham’s new signings appear in the starting line-up for the Titans’ last pre-season game at Loughborough University on Friday.

Three recruits have been selected for the pack: hooker Charlie Maddison and back row forwards Tom Calladine, ex-Nottingham, and Australian number eight Tim Cree.

However, Rotherham’s coach, Mark Jones, the former Wales international, has picked only one new player to start in the backs: centre Will Owen signed from Championship club Moseley.

With the Titans playing their opening league game against Ealing Trailfinders a week on Sunday, the Rotherham coaches are highlighting the importance of the match at Loughborough University, one of the best student teams in the country.

It is understood that several league starting positions are still to be determined before Jones announces his squad for the Ealing game.

“The new boys have settled in really well; we are a tightly knit group,” said forwards’ coach Steve Salvin.

“We finished our fitness tests this week. There has been a big improvement and we will be putting out an extremely fit team against Loughborough and Ealing.

“We are delighted with the way our pre-season programme has worked out. We were disappointed to lose at last week at London Scottish who will be a strong Championship side this season, but league points were not at stake and we did a lot of good things for an hour.”

Meanwhile,Salvin has confirmed that new hooker, Darran Harris, signed from Welsh club Llanelli Scarlets, will miss the beginning of the Championship season because of an ankle injury; he may be fit for the second league game against Yorkshire Carnegie or the following one at Cornish Pirates.

However, Irish number eight, Will Ryan, will have to wait much longer to resume playing following a leg injury suffered in training.

Ryan won’t be playing again until next year, but it is hoped that fly half James McKinney may be back before Christmas.