HAYDEN Smith cannot wait to line up for Thurrock next season.

The 21-year-old back row started his career in the T’s youth set-up.

And he is already relishing being back there next season after opting to sign from Southend Saxons.

“I’m really looking forward to a new challenge,” said Smith.

“The club’s showing real ambition and I’m looking forward to playing a part in that.

“I was with Thurrock when I was younger and played for their mini and youth teams so it’s good to be going back.

“I can’t wait to get started.”

Thurrock finished sixth in London One North last season but will be lining up in London One South next time around.

And Smith is therefore not too sure what to expect.

“With a change in leagues, we will be playing a lot of unknown sides next season so it’s hard to know too much at this stage,” said Smith.

“But we have a strong side and I think there has to be the aim of promotion.

“I definitely think it’s achievable and I’m hoping we can achieve this in my first season.

“I’m sure we will be in for a lot of tough games but I’m confident of doing well because of the players we have at the club.”

Smith, a former Sweyne Park School pupil, heads back to Thurrock after three seasons with Southend.

And he was keen to thank the Saxons for their support.

“I would like to say thanks to Southend,” said Smith.

“They gave me my senior debut at National Two Level and I’ve really benefitted from playing there in the past three years.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunities they gave me.”