Scorpions sign Jamie Rooney

South Wales Scorpions have pulled off a coup by securing the services of former England international and experienced Super League half-back Jamie Rooney for the 2012 season.

The club completed the signing yesterday from French side Limoux Grizzlies where he has spent the last few months.

He is in line to make his South Wales Scorpions debut this Saturday against a Wigan Warriors XIII at The Gnoll in Neath (kick-off 3pm) and has been named in a 22-man squad.

The 32-year old Rooney won four England caps in 2006 playing against France, Tonga (twice) and Samoa. He is an experience Super League player having turned out over 150 times at the highest level for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Castleford Tigers.

Rooney made his professional league début in 1999 for Featherstone Rovers when he was just 19 years old and quickly became the first choice scrum-half. In two consecutive seasons, he scored more than 100 points in the side’s first 10 games while he also made the Featherstone record books for most points in a season.

Eventually he became one of the few players to turn out for all three “Calder” clubs making just a handful of appearances for Castleford before his career really took off, signing for Wakefield and playing in seven successful Super League seasons where he was both a proven try scorer and goal kicker, helping them to the play-offs in 2004.

Current South Wales Scorpions coach Dave Clark brought him to Barrow Raiders in 2009 and helped them to win the Championship Grand Final, scoring three goals as they beat Halifax 26-18. He spent another two seasons there before moving to France.

Clark said: “I know Jamie obviously from when I coached him at Barrow so I know what he’ll bring to the Scorpions regarding performance and ability and his attributes as a player. His communication and direction skills, experience and his superb kicking game are something that the Scorpions are desperate of really. He fills a lot of vacancies that we have in our side.

“He’ll be a really important player for the Scorpions in where we finish this year. He fills a key position in being a half-back which will strengthen that area. I can see a few good combinations going on with Nathan Mossop, who he’s played alongside before, and also with Steve Parry and Shaun Owens. We have four really good pivots there who will ask questions of sides that we’re playing this year.”

Rooney is delighted to be joining the Scorpions and says that he was Clark’s influence that brought him down to South Wales.

“I’m pretty excited really from what Dave’s been telling me,” Rooney said. “I know Dave and I know what he brings to a team as a coach so I’m looking forward to playing under him again. I’ve kept in touch with him since I’ve been in France and I’ve a lot of respect and time for him so hopefully I can help Scorpions and Dave get promoted to the Championship. That will really help the game in Wales.

“I’m looking forward to Saturday, meeting the lads for the first time, and having a run out against Wigan. I know we’ll be facing primarily a young Wigan side but they’re the best set of youngsters in the country. I faced Wigan under 21s when I was playing for Barrow’s first team and they beat us, that’s how good they are. It’s going to be a tough game.

“Moving to Wales will be a new experience for me. I’ve only ever been to Wales twice before, for two Millennium Magic games, and that was just for the day each time. I scored a try in the first game, hopefully I can get a few more this season playing for the Scorpions.”

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