Worthing Raiders are putting the building blocks in place for what they hope will be another season of improvement.
Raiders stormed to an impressive seventh-placed league finish last term having survived relegation on the final day of the season previous.
An area of concern for head coach Jody Levett and his staff over the summer was trying to ensure a squad full of young, promising talent remained together for the upcoming campaign.
But with focus now fully on the 2018/19 season, it appears Raiders have managed to do just that. Stalwart Jamie Redmayne, who announced his decision to retire towards the end of last season, is currently the only departure.
Other than Redmayne a young, hungry and improving squad have been kept together as they look to push on again.
Add in the arrivals of prop Ryan Wilkie and winger Curtis Barnes and it makes for exciting times at Roundstone Lane.
Levett said: “Currently only Jamie Redmayne has retired and so departed.
“Outside of that we have the same squad as last season. We are in the process of finishing off the signing of contracts and completing discussions with the last group of players.
“We have also confirmed signings of a prop and winger to the squad as well as a scrum half.
“We are in discussions with a number of other players to continue to build the squad for the season ahead.”
Levett is expecting National 2 South - a notoriously competitive division - to be tougher than ever this season.
Sides promoted look strong, while teams coming down from a higher level will look to bounce back immediately.
Levett said: “We’re expecting another tough and long season, as always.
“With the relegation and promotions into the league there will be no easy game. This season there are no obvious promotion or relegation candidates, unlike previous seasons where certain teams were out and out favourites. That in mind it will prove to be highly competitive from start to finish.”
Raiders are setting no specific targets for the new season, just looking to continue playing with a freedom and developing a certain style of rugby.
“We obviously want to build on the success of last season and work on our weaknesses,” Levett added. We want to continue to play and develop a style of rugby which is both successful and entertaining for our supporters.”
Raiders returned for pre-season at the start of this month and now have a few sessions under their belts. Friendlies have been scheduled at Cobham on Saturday, August 11, a home meeting with Thurrock a week later then Raiders final action before the season sees Portsmouth travel to Roundstone Lane on August 23.