News

Titans strengthen their pack

Rotherham Titans are please to announce three further additions to their pack, ahead of the RFU Championship 2013-14 season.

The new additions are two tight head props and a back row player who can also cover the hooker position, bringing the total of confirmed signings for next season to 26, including Head Coach Lee Blackett.

The first player announced is no stranger to Clifton Lane and the club would like to extend a warm welcome back to Colin Quigley. Colin spent two seasons at the Lane between September 2009 and February 2011; making 38 appearances and scoring two tries, with one of those coming on his debut away at Coventry.

Thirty one years-old Quigley spent last season plying his trade at London Scottish, although he has had spells at Moseley, Otley and Doncaster Knights among others.

Titans Head Coach Lee Blackett, commenting on Quigley’s arrival said, “I’m really pleased that Colin has returned to the club. What we get with Colin is a tremendous amount of experience; he’s been around a number of clubs and when he’s on, he’s as good a tight head as there is in the division.

“Also, Colin is desperate to come back to Rotherham; he has family ties in the area and this is where he wants to be. Furthermore, he’s told me he’d love to see out his playing career at Clifton Lane and that’s the type of player we want to be working with as we endeavour to create the right culture here at Rotherham.

“The key with Colin is to make sure he’s performing to the best of his ability every week and to make sure he hits the right levels of consistency with his game. We know he’s a proven player at this level, there’s no doubt about that and if the consistency is there then we’ve got one of the best props in the division.”

Vying for the same tight head berth will be Mark Tampin; who the club has brought in from Wharfedale. Twenty one years-old Tampin weighs in at 17 stones which will ensure he brings a degree of physicality to the Titans front row. However, his ability in the loose and his technical ability at scrum time, means Rotherham are getting much more than a lump of beef.

Tampin joined Leeds Carnegie in 2010 and was promoted to the first team squad ahead of the 2010-11 season. He made his debut in the British and Irish Cup against the Titans and made a further appearance against Doncaster in the same competition. Tampin spent much of last term out on loan with Wharfedale.

Lee Blackett sees Tampin as figuring prominently in the Titans set-up next season, as he explained, “I know Mark from my time at Leeds and I was surprised he didn’t get more game time than he did up there, particularly as he’s one of the best technical scrimmages in the division. I spoke to Tommy McGee who’s doing the scrum coaching at Leeds and he highly recommends Mark; Tommy believes Mark will come here and push for the number one tight head spot.

“Mark’s not just a good scrimmager; he’s improved massively on his all round game and as his confidence grows his all round game will improve as well. He’s mobile, as you would expect from a young guy and as long as he keeps working on his game, he has the potential to be a quality prop forward.”

Bringing up the rear of the trio of new arrivals is 23 years-old back row forward Jack Preece. Preece secured a central contract for the England Sevens squad in 2012-13. He also captained Birmingham & Solihull in National One in 2011-12 after which his five-year connection with the Bees ended.

He had become their players’ player of the year for the second time in succession and figured in more than 100 senior games after joining the club at the age of 17 and becoming the youngest National One try scorer.

Gloucester-born, Jack represented Gloucestershire at six levels from U15 to seniors. He appeared twice for the county U20 side in Twickenham finals and played for England Counties against Spain.

Preece switched to hooker in 2011-12 to further his career but injury intervened. In January this year, he played his first match in ten months for Cinderford after snapping the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, whilst playing for England Sevens in Moscow.

Blackett is particularly pleased with the acquisition of Preece, as he explained, “Jack will be joining us as an out-and-out seven, but he has the ability to cover the hooker position. So if during the season we pick up some injuries at hooker, we know Jack won’t let us down if we put him in there.

“There’s a reason why he got picked-up by England 7’s and that because his form at Birmingham Solihull was outstanding. He was the player’s player of the year and they also made him captain down there, which also shows he has leadership qualities to his game.

“In Jack I believe we are getting the best open side on the floor at stealing ball in the division, I have no doubt about that whatsoever, he is the best. Jack could have gone elsewhere but he’s chosen Rotherham because of the good things he’s heard about the club and he’s another one who’s desperate to come here and show people what he can do.”

Giving an update of where the Titans are in terms of their recruitment, Blackett went on to explain, “We are not too far off with our recruitment now; we’ll probably bring in one more back, but we know where games are won and lost and that’s up front. We need to make sure we get the right balance with our pack and I think bringing Colin and Mark in shows we are going in the right direction.

“As a club we pride ourselves on our scrum; just because I’m a back it doesn’t mean I don’t understand that. We will have a massive focus on our scrum; it’s what Rotherham packs do. It’s what Rotherham packs have done for the last 15 years and we are aware of how vital it is that we get that aspect of our game right, in order for us to gain first phase ball.”

Colin Quigley, Mark Tampin & Jack Preece are all available for Player sponsorship for the forthcoming season. For further details contact tony@rotherhamrugby.co.uk