Rotherham Titans have announced two important signings as they prepare for the new Championship season.#
They are Australian lock forward Byron Hodge and front row forward Brandon Palmer from South Africa.
Hodge, 25, was born in Sydney, where he played for Sydney University and Sydney Stars, before moving to the UK at the beginning of the 2016/17 season.
He spent last season training full time with Premiership side Saracens, playing for their A side in the Aviva A League and was dual-registered at Championship outfit Bedford Blues, where he made 12 appearances.
At 6ft 7ins and 116kg Byron is sure to add a powerful option for the Titans in the boiler-house, but surprisingly for a second-rower he is also a proficient kicker who took on kicking duties while playing in Australia.
Byron, who is eagerly looking forward to being part of the Clifton Lane set-up added, “I’m delighted to have signed for Rotherham for the upcoming season.
“The Titans have a reputation for producing big and abrasive forwards and Championship opponents have long regarded the away fixture at Clifton Lane as one of the toughest of the season, and with that in mind, it will be a real privilege to pull on the jersey.
“The opportunity to continue learning under Andy Key and Nic Rouse is a very exciting one and I look forward to what I’m hoping will be a memorable season for the team.”
Palmer, 23, was born in Johannesburg, and during his career has represented Wits University and the University of Johannesburg. He has also been part of the Golden Lions Talented Player Program.
Brandon is equally adept at both loose-head and tight-head prop and his versatility will strengthen the options of Titans head coach Key.
Weighing in at 117kg, Brandon will offer good size and bulk to the Rotherham front row and his ability at scrum-time means he will offer stiff competition for places at the Titans coal-face.
Delighted with his move to the UK Brandon explained: “It has always been my dream to play professional rugby in the UK and I am grateful that itans are giving me the opportunity to play for one of the top 24 teams in England.
“I am very excited to help the team grow and to create new memories. It is a great honour for me to be included the clubs plans for the future, and I look forward to the opportunity to prove myself to the management team and the fans.”