'˜Talisman' Perkins takes over as Raiders' captain

Liam Perkins has been named Worthing Raiders Rugby Club's new captain for the upcoming National 2 South campaign.

Liam Perkins has been named Worthing Raiders' new skipper
Liam Perkins has been named Worthing Raiders' new skipper

Perkins, who has been with the club for the past three seasons, was announced as the head of a new leadership group at the club’s AGM last night. He takes over from Scott Barlow as captain and the rest of the leadership group is made up of experienced players Rob Smith, Matt McLean, Kiba Richards and Peter Cleveland, who will captain Raiders’ A team.

The group has been set up by Worthing’s new joint head coaches Ben Coulson and Jody Levett, with Coulson believing the quintet will be players who the club’s youngsters can look up to.

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He said: “They’re five of our most experienced and talented players and they will all bring something different. They’re all good rugby players and good people and the youngsters at the club will be able to look up to them.

“Liam is the on-field captain and then we’ve got good options in Rob, Matt and Kiba if he’s injured or not in the squad. All four are very good players, are trusted and have the respect of the playing group.

“Rob is a former captain and a physical player, who you always want in your team.

“Kiba has played at a higher level, is a very clever player and is talismanic in the way he plays.

“Matt is always one of the highest points scorers in the league and is very experienced now. He’s moving into his eighth or ninth season at the club and has plenty of history here.

“And Liam also has experience of playing at a higher level for Ealing. Like Kiba, he’s a talisman with the way he plays and all four bring something different.

“We identified them as four leaders and they’re players who the youngsters coming through can look up to. Then we’ve also got Ryan Storer, who is player-coach and has played at a higher level.”

Cleveland will captain the A team and Coulson said: “He was out for over a year with a neck injury but came back to play a few games at the end of last season.

“He is a club stalwart and adds so much value to the squad. He’ll put his arm around the youngsters, provides leadership and is a good example for the young players to learn from.”

Barlow, who was captain last season, will continue to play and Jamie Redmayne is also set to return after missing much of last season through injury

Raiders return to pre-season training on Tuesday and a home friendly with Guildford has been confirmed for August 20.

Four former Worthing players were part of the England under-20 team who were crowned world champions on Saturday.

Joe Marchant, Charlie Piper, Stan South and Sam Aspland-Robinson all had loan spells at Roundstone Lane from Harlequins and all featured as England beat Ireland 45-21 in the final at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Coulson said: “All four of them spent time at Raiders and it’s great to see them going so well, with Joe one of the stars of the tournament.

“We’ve spoken to Quins and hopefully we’ll have some players on loan again this season as their players always seem to enjoy their time here.”

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