New captain Perkins eyes improved season

Liam Perkins in action for Worthing Raiders last season
Liam Perkins in action for Worthing Raiders last season
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Liam Perkins says it was a proud moment when he was named Worthing Raiders Rugby Club’s captain for the upcoming season.

The 26-year-old is heading into his fourth year with the club and his immediate sights are improving on a difficult season last time out.

Perkins joined Raiders from Ealing for the club’s first-ever season in National 1 but they were relegated that season. They finished fifth the following year in National 2 South, before a difficult 2015-16 season when they secured their league safety in the penultimate game.

Perkins said: “This is going to be my fourth season at the club and I was very proud to be asked to be captain. I did actually have a brief stint with Worthing in 2010 when I played three games however things didn’t work out then but I came back when the club was promoted into National 1.

“The aim for next season will be to try to improve on what was quite a difficult season last year. We’re not going to say we’re going to win the league or anything like that but we just want to continue to build with the squad that we finished last year with.

“I think we had a better squad than the league position suggested last year. We couldn’t play our exciting brand of rugby last season because of the position we were in but, with some of the exciting young players we’ve got coming through, we’ll be looking to consolidate this year and improve on last season.”

New Raiders joint head coaches Ben Coulson and Jody Levett have set up a Leadership Group for the upcoming season. Perkins will head the group, with experienced trio Matt McLean, Kiba Richards and Rob Smith also helping out, while Peter Cleveland will captain Raiders’ A team.

Perkins said: “Matt is Worthing through and through, Kiba keeps coming back and Rob is one of the most passionate people about Worthing Rugby Club. Having these people around can only be a good thing and a positive. The senior players always make any new players aware of what it means to play for the club and to be a Raider.”

Perkins believes some promising young players are coming through the club and also feels Harlequins loanees benefit from their spells with Raiders.

He said: “It’s amazing to see the progression of some of the youngsters who have come here. Joe Marchant came here and his progression in that year was amazing and you just look at him now.

“When I used to play county rugby for Hampshire, his dad was my coach and Joe was a ballboy, so for him to have progressed how he has is fantastic and nice to see.”

Perkins was named in the National 1 team of the year in 2013-14 and has twice been crowned Raiders’ supporters’ player of the season.

He said: “National 1 is the league I want to be in and I want to play there with Worthing, that’s what everyone’s aspirations are because of how much we enjoyed our season playing there.

“We had a bit of a struggle last year but hopefully we can push on now.”

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