BACK row Zak Poole will wear the captain's armband when Rotherham Titans kick off their new season at Rosslyn Park this weekend.
The former Hull Ionians and Leicester Tigers Academy player has been one of the team's best performers over the last 12 months, making him a natural choice for the position.
Director of rugby Martin Jenkinson explained: “Zak was our Player of the Year last year and he's a fellow who is never out of position. He is always enthusiastic and he is consistently good.”
Tomorrow's trip to Rosslyn's represents a far from easy start for Rotherham despite some good recruitment during the summer.
The Londoners finished third in National One last season and have since brought in players from higher levels ready for a crack at the section's one and only promotion place.
Jenkinson added: “We're going to London with the added complication of the match being on a plastic pitch. Rosslyn were a good outfit last year, as we know to our cost, and they have signed a hatful of Premiership players. You could not have picked a harder first fixture.
Action from last week's warm-up game at Wharfedale.
“We’re certainly not complacent after last week (losing 22-19 at Wharfedale) but that still doesn't undermine our close season recruitment and a lot of hard work. We’re up for it and we are going to Rosslyn Park wanting a result.”
Tomorrow is the team’s first competitive fixture under co-coaches Matt Smith and Anthony Posa, the experienced Kiwi who joined the club this summer in the wake of head coach Joe Barker’s departure.
Titans' director of rugby Martin Jenkinson flanked by joint coaches Matt Smith (left) and Anthony Posa.
“Martin is heading it all up and myself and Matt have been bumping ideas off each other since Day 1,” said the new man. “Matt is doing the defence and I am doing the attack.
“We challenge each other, but in a healthy way, and I’m really looking forward to the new season.”
Rotherham’s line-up for the first game contains nine new players. Toby Williams, embarking on his second spell at Clifton Lane, starts in the pack.
Team: Tom Bacon; Ben Robbins, Jamie Cooke, Tom Bullough, Dan Leake; Sam Hollingsworth, Connor Dever; Toby Williams, Harry Newborn, Will Dennis; Elliott Ward, Kieran Frost; Lewis Wilson, Zak Poole (Capt.), Anthony Maka.
Replacements: Agustin Defelitto, Harry Whitfield, Reece Ward, Keifer Laxton, Morgan Bunting.
Kick-off is 3pm.
Check out this week’s Advertiser for more from the Titans coaching team and players... all part of our season preview.