Rotherham Titans usher in new campaign
As Rotherham Titans prepare for the new season, one feature stands out above all else: the size of the forwards - huge players who have several points to prove because they were granted little game-time at their previous clubs.
One example is second row Miles Normandale, 24, who was moved from pillar to post during three years at Cardiff Blues. Bristol born, weighing 19 stones and six feet eight inches tall, Normandale played 12 games only in his three years. So now that he has joined Rotherham, Normandale has been given the opportunity he’s craved since becoming a professional.
“I’m looking forward to getting stuck in” he said.
“I’m not here to pass the ball around, but I’m here to hit rucks hard and hopefully be a presence on the field.
“Justin Burnell, our coach, has done a good job in his recruitment.
“We’ve got some big lumps in the pack and I want to go out there and put teams to the sword.
“I want to find my feet here. It was a big decision to leave Cardiff for personal reasons, but my girlfriend has found a job and now Rotherham feels like home.
“Everyone has been really positive about my performances so far, the boys have been great and we’ve all got on straight away.
“I’ve played in the British and Irish Cup against clubs from the Championship, so I know that it’s going to be highly competitive.
There are several good sides who play hard rugby.
“I want us to take the game to the opposition and fashion a style that we are proud of.”
Normandale appeared in the second pre-season friendly at Northampton Saints last Saturday when, after a promising start, Rotherham finished losing heavily, 52-5.
“We were a bit low on Monday after that defeat.
Afterwards, everything was put on the table, a few home truths were spoken, but now everyone knows their proper roles before we roll into the new season.
“In the first half, we looked good and classy, but then we fell down in some areas.
That though is what pre-season is for-working on things and putting them right, and focusing on what you are good at.”
Competition for places in the squad to face London Welsh, a week on Sunday, in the Championship opener is fierce; Normandale will be fighting against Tom Hicks, Toby Salmon, Ollie Curry and Darren Oliver.