Horsham and Pulborough rugby clubs are all set and ready to engage their new season in London 3 South East on Saturday.
Promoted Pulborough, fresh on the back of last year’s league and Sussex Shield double, kick-off their return to the division at home to fellow promoted side South Park.
Division veterans Horsham meanwhile travel to league new boys Hastings & Bexhill.
They are hoping to build on a promising 2013-14 campaign where they were crowned Bob Rogers Sussex Cup winners, having beaten Lewes in the final, and secured a fourth-place finish in the league.
Pulborough are confident of avoiding a similar fate to their previous promotion to the South East division, which resulted in an immediate relegation.
Seth Wise has taken over the captaincy reigns, and last year’s skipper Richard Nicholls believes it is important the team put last season’s glory behind them.
He said: “Last year was such a successful year and we have picked up in pre-season, improved in each game we have played and numbers are good on the whole.
“We went up a couple of years ago and came straight back down, so the aim is to be in a better place this year, obviously we want to stay up and do better that would be great.
“We will all put last year behind us, it was great fun and a fantastic season, but the aim was always to get back in South East 3, and if you talk to any of the guys they will all say last year was a long time ago now.”
Player wise, the returning Tom Baxter and Simon Bursined have both committed for the season, while Barney Reed and Luke Barney have joined the club, as well as retaining all of last year’s squad.
Horsham have added a number of new faces and head coach Nick Stocker is optimistic about the season ahead.
He said: “We have bolstered our ranks and now have considerable competition for places. I believe we now have the squad to build further on our 70 per sent win ratio last season and the boys are ready for the league action to commence.”
Sean Tuhakaraina,22, arrived on Tuesday from Matamata, Waikato, New Zealand to be the club’s second overseas player and join his compatriot Ben Rush.
Tuhakaraina will play outside centre or full back. Arun Thompson has also graduated from Swansea University and will bolster either the centre or back-row positions.
While Richard and Michael Tredgett will add forward power having returned from East Grinstead where they were part of that club’s rise to National League Rugby and three promotions over the last four seasons.