Stars make return to Southend in a bid to save club from the drop

Chris Green (left) welcomes Mike Stanley back to the club

Chris Green (left) welcomes Mike Stanley back to the club

First published in Sport by

SOUTHEND Rugby Club have boosted their National Two South survival hopes by bringing star duo Mike Stanley and Sam Arnott back to Warners Bridge.

Scrum half Arnott led the way for the Seasiders with 10 tries last season before joining National One club Cinderford, while highly-rated centre Stanley has come back to the club from local rivals Thurrock.

And Southend’s director of rugby Chris Green is thrilled to have freshened up his squad.

“Both Sam and Mike are quality players and we’re delighted to have brought them both in because they will definitely make a big difference to us,” said Green.

“We already have two very good scrum halves at the club, but Sam is an outstanding player and we saw that regularly during his time here.

“The same can be said of Mike, who did well for us before and has also been outstanding for Thur-rock.”

Both players will go straight into the squad for Saturday’s home game against Shelford.

And Stanley has delayed a move to New Zealand — where he will be playing for Auckland-based side Ponsonby — to help the Seasiders move out of the relegation zone.

“I was supposed to be going to New Zealand in February, but I will be heading there at the end of March instead now,” said Stanley, 22. “When I joined Thurrock I told them I would play for them for a year and then agreed to stay on until Christmas.

“I was then planning to have a short break before going to Ponsonby, but I will now be playing for Southend during that time And he added: “I’m very excited to be going back to the club.

“The league table doesn’t make for nice reading at the moment, but hopefully the new players coming in can make a difference and help the team get better results.”

Arnott is also hoping to make a good impression and help the Seasiders return to winning ways after five successive defeats.

“We were disappointed to finish mid-table last year, so where the team is at the moment isn’t acceptable and the lads all know that,” said Arnott. “We need to put things right and it’s certainly possible because there’s a lot of talented players in the squad.”

Southend, who are second from bottom in the table, are also close to completing the signing of a new number eight, while Andrew Frost, Billy Driver and Lee Guess could be available again for Saturday’s game.

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