Rotherham Titans v London Scottish: Luke Cole keen to use top-flight education for benefit of Titans

Luke Cole.
Luke Cole.
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BEING cut by Yorkshire Carnegie eventually proved a decent career move for Luke Cole, given the young hooker ended up continuing his education with Premiership giants Gloucester.

He is now back in the county with Rotherham Titans as one of Justin Burnell’s signings at Clifton Lane this summer following a circuitous path to South Yorkshire.

But Cole, who will make his home debut against London Scottish today, was scratching around for a side not too long ago.

“I was at Leeds Carnegie but they didn’t retain me,” he explained, the nearest he got to playing for them being as an unused replacement on the bench against Rotherham in 2013-14.

“I got a groin injury and was looking for another club when I got the chance to go to Gloucester. Jon Pendlebury (the former Carnegie and Gloucester lock) set that up and he helped me out getting here to Rotherham, too.”

Cole, 22, added: “Gloucester was very good. Very professional.

“There was a good mix of the boys who have played right at the top level – you can learn a lot just being around them – and younger ones. Also, the standards they set is something you pick up on, too.

“You just have to adapt to them and then take them with you wherever you go next.

“There were hookers like Richard Hibbard, Tom Lindsay Aleki Lutui there while I spent a lot of time one-to-one especially with Darren Dawidiuk, who took me under his wing. I learned a lot from him.

“I’ve found throughout my career sometimes you don’t quite get the nod if you keep your head down and crack on things happen for you. Rugby’s a strange game; it can all change in 24 hours. If you keep knocking on the door eventually your chance will come.”

Halifax-born Cole was used predominantly in Gloucester’s A League squad but, at senior level, played a couple of Anglo-Welsh Cup games and also came off the bench for his solitary Premiership appearance at Leicester’s Welford Road, no less.

A product of Old Brodleians rugby club and Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Otley, he is now battling former carnegie colleague Joe Graham and Charlie Maddison for the No2 role at Rotherham.

Cole impressed off the bench on debut in last Saturday’s 25-13 defeat at Doncaster but will now look to help them to a second home win after a stunning victory over London Welsh on the opening day of the new season.

“I’ve not seen much of London Scottish but they’ll try to take us on up front with our pack,” he said. “But we can play both styles of rugby pretty well and are looking forward to it.

“At Doncaster, we had a hell of a lot of ball and our set-piece went really well.

“We knew they’d come at us hard up front but we can rough it up with the best of them.

“We just made some minor errors around the field and on our game knowledge but we’ll learn from that and I’m sure we can have a great season at Rotherham.

“There’s a great team spirit and work ethic here and it’s been brilliant for me.

“It’s good to get some game-time under my belt.”

Titans head coach Justin Burnell, has made just one change in the pack as tighthead prop Joe Rees returns from a calf injury for Danny Herriott.

In the backline, Charlie Foley is given the nod at fly-half over Will Robinson after impressing with his early season form, with the latter dropping to the bench.

Making his debut on the wing is Charlie’s brother Ben. He comes in for Jake Henry and Will Thomas also makes his Titans debut at full back, coming in for the injured Will Goodwin (calf).