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McKinney happy to be back at the Lane: James McKinney_1

McKinney happy to be back at the Lane

The article below has been provided courtesy of Guy Williams and The Star.

The 23 year old from Belfast, who played in consecutive Junior World Cups for Ireland in 2010 and 2011, has returned to the Titans after only one season back at home where he played 12 times for Ulster.

McKinney, a success in his first period at Rotherham in 2012-13, has a huge role to fill as the Ulsterman is the likeliest candidate to take over the goal kicking duties from the departed Juan Pablo Socino, the Championship’s highest scorer last season with more than 300 points.

“I really enjoyed the last time I was here, the club were good to me, the fans are special at Clifton Lane and I felt loyalty to Rotherham.

“When I was approached to come back, it appealed to me because I like Rotherham’s style.

“They play rugby the way it should be played and Coach Lee Blackett deserves massive credit for that. A free flowing style with the ball in hand moves teams about and puts them under pressure.

“So I am sure I will get plenty of kicking opportunities. Socino’s boots are big ones to fill and I’m looking forward to trying to reach those heights.

“In our first week back, Lee has told us that the aim this season is to make further progress, to develop and not to rest on our laurels.

“The Championship is a very challenging league and it will be difficult this season. You’ve got Bristol signing a British Lion and then you look at Worcester, Leeds and London Scottish.

“So it’s a very competitive league, but Rotherham’s squad has lots of talent. They've just had a successful season and I was almost jealous that I wasn’t there.

“Lee has made some good signings. Forward Perry Parker from Edinburgh is a giant, Adam Macklin, whom I know from Ulster, is solid and experienced and another Irishman, William Ryan, a number eight from Munster, is a big man.

“I’m excited to be back at a good club which plays at a high level, the Irish contingent is strong and in our first week all the squad have made a positive start.”

So McKinney, a high quality player who should be better now after a season with Ulster, is all set to play a major role at Rotherham where his skills should make the backs even more dangerous.