Dan ‘The Bin Man’ Sanderson makes a first return to Billesley Common this weekend desperate to show Moseley what they missed but also conscious of the fact he is once again walking a disciplinary tightrope.
Last year Sanderson spent an underwhelming season at Mose before opting to move to Rotherham in the summer to sample the dubious pleasures of Andre Bester’s unique management style.
The giant second row couldn’t be happier with that decision and believes he has thrived in Bester’s spartan regime, which includes 180 scrums on a Monday and shuttle runs to the point of nausea up the steps at Don Valley stadium.
The South African firebrand has recently departed Clifton Lane and Saturday’s visit to Birmingham will be the first in charge for new Titans head coach Alex Codling and Sanderson is almost certain to start.
Indeed, the 28-year-old has begun every game for the last two months, a run of consistency that eluded him almost entirely during his time at Moseley, where he experienced the sting of a suspension as many times as the joy of crossing the opposition line.
In just his fifth game he was cited and banned for a tip-tackle against Esher and then a few weeks later he took Boxing Day rather too literally and earned a red card for tapping the chin of London Scottish player-coach Simon Amor. He was entrusted with a starting role just three more times.
“It was a frustrating year,” Sanderson admits. “I probably only had about five good games in my whole time there and I certainly didn’t meet the expectations I had of myself nor those Moseley had of me. I’d play OK and then it would be interrupted by a silly ban and I never really showed the form I knew I was capable of. After the second ban my confidence was quite low.”
However, the Leicester-born forward insists he looks back on his time at the club fondly. “I met some great guys and although most of the players have changed, I’m looking forward to going back and seeing people like John Caves and the supporters were fantastic.”
As a late-comer to the sport, though, Sanderson was frustrated that he did not receive more input in terms of skills coaching. With just one season of Championship rugby at Birmingham & Solihull to his name he brought to Moseley materials both roar and raw.
Which was why he was tempted to try his hand working with Bester, who has an excellent track record in polishing rough diamonds. “The style really suits me. At Moseley we had four guys having a say in the lineout but at Rotherham it’s just me and we’ve been operating at about 90 per cent, it’s very satisfying.
“And playing a pod system I can afford to wait on the opposite side so that when play does come back to me I can run in wider channels and use my pace.”
But there have still been a couple of yellow cards – for technical offences, he adds – and another would earn him a statutory one-game ban. If it comes on Saturday that really would represent a fitting welcome back gift.