Bradford surprised by honour of leading the Tigers ahead of season opener, while Sheffield win three friendlies in a row

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Sheffield Tigers have appointed David Bradford and Jonathan Buchannan as the new first team captain and vice captain ahead of their season opener against Preston Grasshoppers this weekend at Dore Moor.

Bradford, a former Doncaster Knights back row player, and centre Buchannan have impressed during the club’s pre-season schedule, which they concluded last Saturday with a narrow 27-26 victory over Bournemouth Lions at Franklin’s Gardens.

Bradford, scored his first try for the club in the victory, whilst Buchannan set up Rupert Broadley who touched down for the other three tries.

“The offer to become captain came as a bit of a shock, “ Bradford told the Telegraph.

“It’s not a position I have looked to hold before, as I just like to lead by example rather than with words.

“If I’m doing things right out there and leading in terms of attitude and physicality, then I think the boys will follow me.”

Last Saturday’s win over Bournemouth was their first pre-season victory, after defeats against Doncaster Knights and Hull Ionians in the previous two weeks, and Bradford believes there were a lot of positives to take away from the game and into the new season.

“It was a positive performance down at Franklin’s Gardens,” he said.

“We all got a taste of professional rugby and playing at their set up gave everyone a buzz.

“We got the result, winning by a point, but a result is a result and it’s good to build on that towards our first game.

“We’re well prepared for the game against Preston.

“We’ve had a tougher pre-season than them - we’ve had to take a few knocks.

“They’ve had two lesser sides in their pre season, and we are going into this game well cooked. If we can start well we should put in a decent performance.”

Saturday’s opener will kick off at 3pm at Dore Moor after touring Dutch side Rugby Club Wageningen have faced a Tigers Barbarians side.

n Sheffield RUFC, meanwhile, travel to Pocklington on Saturday in good form after securing their third successive pre-season victory, at Notts Paviors.

Sheffield took a 28-man squad to the game as Ben Wade assesses his players ahead of the new season.

Captain Simon Tillyer has returned to training after his summer break.

Sheffield are fielding three senior sides this weekend, with the second team facing Mosborough and the third team playing Hallam (all at 3pm).