Lloyd Hayes: I need to prove myself
As Rotherham Titans intensify their pre-season training, Coach Lee Blackett has been impressed with the attitude and the contributions of his new signings who include 21 year old centre Lloyd Hayes.
A glimpse of Hayes's potential was seen at Clifton Lane in January when he scored a try on his debut against Aberavon in the British and Irish Cup.
His try and all-round performance in what was a trial game for Hayes persuaded Rotherham to sign him for this coming season.
Blackett already knew of his ability by assessing the favourable reports of Hayes's efforts for Chester in National Three North...last season he scored 31 league tries and also kicked 245 points, a return which enabled Chester to gain promotion.
Educated at Ellesmere College, the same school as Bill Beaumont, the former England captain, Hayes has strong roots in North Wales as the family home is at Mold near Wrexham.
Indeed, earlier this summer Wales asked him to join a Wales Sevens trial, but Hayes could not afford the travel costs, so now he is concentrating on his new career at Rotherham.
“When I came here for a trial, I liked the atmosphere and when I scored a try at the clubhouse end, I could not have asked for any more. I jumped in straight away after being offered the opportunity to play professional rugby.
“The new boys at Rotherham are bonding well, we have settled in and there is a buzz about the squad which has lots of potential.
“Playing in the Championship is a step up but I am confident about my ability. My long term ambition is to play in the first team at Rotherham, but I am going to do it game by game and season by season.
“I need to prove myself here and I would like one day to play in the Premiership, but the thing now is to concentrate on my fitness. The sessions at the Don Valley Stadium have been good."
Hayes is fully aware of the competition he faces to establish himself as a regular first team player, and is not afraid of the relentless hard work that is required.
He is also unafraid to travel to develop his rugby which started at Wirral RUFC.
“A couple of years ago, I played in north Italy for six months. I joined Asti, near Milan. It was a great opportunity and I loved it."
Now adjusting to life in Sheffield where he shares a house with three other new players, Hayes typifies the young talent that Rotherham have the knack of spotting and developing, and if he follows in the footsteps of Guy Easterby (Ireland), David Strettle (England), Hendre Fourie (England) and Sean Dougall (Munster), he will prove to be an excellent acquisition.
This article was written by Guy Williams and was recently published in The Star.