Wade: Starting at Clifton Lane means so much to me!
Rotherham veteran and assistant coach Ben Wade will make his 113th appearance for the club, when he runs out against London Scottish on Saturday; kick-off 2pm at Clifton Lane.
Wade made his debut for Titans back in August 1997 away at Bedford in the Allied Dunbar Premiership 2, now known as the RFU Championship. His last start for the club was in the Zurich Premiership in 2001 against Bath at Clifton Lane, where he scored one of his 36 tries for Rotherham.
It’s been a long and eventful journey for Ben and not too many players have a near 12 year gap between starts. Nevertheless, Wade has lost none his enthusiasm for the game and is itching for Saturday to arrive as he explained, “It’s great to be involved in the Championship side for Saturday game. I have played on and off since Andre was last here but that has mainly been in the B&I Cup and although I am mainly involved in the coaching side now, it is great for me to get a start against Scottish. I have worked very hard in training with the boys this week and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Wade suffered a serious knee injury earlier in his career, however this only served to fuel his desire to play for Rotherham again, “Ever since I injured my knee in 2001 and the surgeon told me that I may not ever play rugby again, I was determined no matter what to play again and to play for Rotherham in the league at Clifton Lane. I had the Cup starts and that’s been great, but to be actually starting a Championship game at Clifton Lane means so much to me and I’m really looking forward to it.
“The game and the structures have changed since I last started a league game, but if your mind is still young and you are determined, then you just put that to one side. I’ll be giving my all for Rotherham and I’ll be giving 100% against London Scottish.”
Wade continued and explained team selection for the Scottish game, “The squad has been rotated somewhat this week as we are carrying quite a lot of niggles after the Doncaster game and it would be foolish to select those players with the promotion play-offs just two weeks away. We have a squad of 35 full time professional players and no doubt some of these guys will have to slip in during the play-offs. The team selected is absolutely determined to go out there and put everything in against Scottish and get the win. What will help us achieve that is if we get the tremendous support that we usually get at Clifton Lane.”
Ben added how important the support at Clifton Lane is to the players, “I still feel I have enough left to make a contribution to the side; I just want to get my head down and get the job done. Even after all the years I have been involved in the game, I still feel nervous ahead of Saturday’s game and that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned. It’s another opportunity to play in front of our home supporters at Clifton Lane.
“The supporters have been absolutely fantastic this year, like they always are. They make us proud and they make us want to work that little bit harder and to put that little extra in at home and to make sure we give them the performance they deserve.”
Wade has a terrific try-scoring record for the Titans, amassing 36 tries in 112 appearances. Titans coach Andre Bester says Ben doesn’t score tries, he steals them. When this point was raised with Ben he responded, “I must admit that in a court of law, I think there would be a fair few players that would want to argue that point straight away. But yes I must admit you see that line and you want to see what you can do with it and if you can get over, you get over.
“The main thing however, it’s all about the team and making sure we put in a performance and try to get the try-scoring bonus point on Saturday.”
With Ben’s impressive try-scoring record it would take a brave man to bet against him adding to his tally on Saturday.