- Former Scarlet prop eager to help Rotherham's Premiership ambitions
- "Tremendous potential" - Bester
Photo: Getty Images
Titans Rugby newest recruit Simon Gardiner is delighted to have joined the Clifton Lane outfit, but insists his ambition is to return to top-flight rugby, ideally with the Titans.
Gardiner made more than 30 appearancesfor the Scarlets, having spent five years at the club he joined as a 16 years-old junior.
Simon took time out of his training schedule to tell us a little about his time with the Scarlets, scummaging with coach Andre Bester and his ambition to return to top-flight rugby.
“I’d been involved with the Scarlets since I was 16 years-old,” he said, “and I played in all the age groups there. Then I was lucky enough to play first team rugby which included a couple of Heineken Cup starts.
“It good to play high-level rugby, but more importantly you’ve got to enjoy it. I’ve moved on now because I was no longer enjoying my time at the Scarlets and now I’ve linked up with Andre at Rotherham.
“My agent told me there may be a possibility of playing for Rotherham and I came to have a look round and to meet Andre. I enjoyed my visit and thought it would be a good move for me to join the Titans.
“I’d not heard too much about the club, but I was warned to stay away from Andre when it came to the scrummaging sessions. Those sessions are all a bit new to me; I think we did 120 live scrums last Monday. I didn’t do that many live scrums in all the five years I was with the Scarlets.
“There are benefits to be had however with doing so many live scrums in training. It’s more like a match environment and you are so much better prepared for when you are in a match situation. I do think it is the best way to go, instead of just hitting a machine.
“My immediate ambition is to help the Titans attain Premiership rugby. I want to be playing in the top leagues and to do that with the Titans would be brilliant.
“I am aware as everyone is, at the number of players who have been with the Titans and who have gone on to play at the highest levels, including international level. In one sense I am taking a step down, but it is with the intention of taking two steps forward in due course.
“It’s nice to have the opportunity to come to England; I am English qualified and I think that helps. I’ve settled really well at Rotherham and it reminds me of being back at home, everyone is very friendly and there’s lots of banter flying around. So far so good and I’m looking forward to pulling on a Titans jersey.”
Looking forward to working with Simon – Bester
Titans head coach Bester is delighted to have captured the signature of Gardiner and said: “Simon is a specialist tight head prop who has 30 odd caps for Scarlets and you just can’t be a poor player having had so many caps for a franchise like that.
"He’s a very young prop and he’s still at the infant stage of his development and that tells you not only how good he is right now, but also of the tremendous potential that he possesses.
“He’s an exceptional scrummager, but just like all of us, we are all in a development stage and there are always aspects of our game where we can improve. I am looking forward to working with Simon as I am with the whole squad and I’m sure he will be an integral part of the Titans squad this year.”