SOUTHEND Rugby Club's Richard Gill is striving to kick-start his career with the Seasiders.

The 20-year-old openside flanker has joined the Warners Bridge outfit after being released from Premiership Saracens at the end of previous campaign.

And, having been impressed by Southend coach Kevin Harman during transfer discussions, Gill is desperate to shine once again for his new side.

"Kev approached me at the end of last season and told me Southend are an ambitious club who are looking to move forward," said Gill, who hails from Stevenage.

"I wasn't getting much game time at my previous club Saracens and I wasn't really progressing.

"Kev explained that I would get more opportunities at Southend and I jumped at the chance of coming here."

Gill spent five seasons with Saracens before moving on but was also on loan at Barking in National League Two last year.

He was unable to stop them sliding out of the division and is keen to avoid suffering a similar fate with Southend.

"Barking were a struggling team and I went there on the back end of some big defeats," he recalled.

"Hopefully it will be a different story with Southend and this year the main aim has to be to stay in National Two.

"It's a tough league to be in and I obviously know that from personal experience.

"It's a hard, physical league and a big step up from National Three."

Southend finished top of that league last season but Gill knows they will have to work hard to secure any further success.

"The defences we will be up against will be a lot tougher," he said.

"Southend scored a lot of points last year and it would be great for it to be the same this time too but it will be much harder this time.

"The defences are more structured and will take a lot of breaking down.

"That means we will have to pride ourselves more on our defence but we've been doing work on that over the summer in training.

"It's important and will become a real key area but after having a few months off we're all raring to go now."