Rugby Union: Rotherham Titans new boys impress

Rotherham Titans Will Goodwin
Rotherham Titans Will Goodwin

Rotherham’s coach Mark Jones is quietly satisfied with the solid impression that several of the club’s new signings have made so far in the opening five Championship games; not least, he’s happy with the start that fly half Will Goodwin, 22, is enjoying.

Considering that Goodwin is now playing at a much higher standard, the former Chester RUFC fly half is adapting well. Although he came on as a replacement in the first two matches against Ealing Trailfinders and Yorkshire Carnegie, he’d shown enough talent to be chosen for his full Championship debut in the next game at Cornish Pirates; Goodwin seized his opportunity by striking three penalties and two conversions as he made a strong, all round impression.

“I’m loving it at Rotherham and having the opportunity to train full time and being able to work on developing your skills is what I want” said Goodwin. “The standard I’m now playing in forces you to look at your game in much more detail and when you have a coach of Mark Jones’ ability it means he picks up on things to work on.

“The point about the Championship is that you are playing with good players who elevate you and they can create opportunities for you. When I was playing for Chester and then for a club near Paris, I was at a level that was two leagues below Rotherham, so this is a big step-up. Since I’ve been here my fitness has improved 100% and I love the challenge.

“Getting over an early penalty against Pirates on my full Championship debut settled my nerves and helping the team to win away from home made it a great day,” says Goodwin. Confident and positive by nature, he needs to build on the good start he has made because Goodwin faces severe competition; last season’s first choice fly half, James McKinney, is on his way back from a injury, new signing Ross Jones looked a decent player against Bristol and Tom Barrett has done little wrong.

“The competition keeps me on my toes and my ambition in the short term is to try to cement my place at Rotherham in a league where there a lot of good teams,” adds Goodwin who was encouraged to join the Titans by centre Lloyd Hayes, a school friend and another ex-Chester player.