SOUTHEND Rugby Club are finally back in training as they begin the long build up to next season.

The Saxons have not played since winning at Ruislip in March 2020.

But director of rugby Josh Ward is pleased to see his players returning to Warners Bridge.

“We’re really pleased to be back,” said Ward.

“It’s an important time for the boys to reconnect.

“We’ve taken a lot of pressure off in terms of outcomes and it’s more a focus on the wellbeing front.

“It’s a chance for the boys to get out, see their mates and have a good time.”

Southend will again be lining up in London One North next season.

And Ward is hopeful the campaign will kick off as normal.

“We’re working towards the hope of a normal pre-season timeline going into a September start,” said Ward.

“But it’s important we get back together and have a good time otherwise they would be going from December to July with no rugby having not really seen each other.

“We want to get the group back together and that’s what we’ve done.”

However, Ward admitted it had been a tough time for the club after the coronavirus pandemic cut short the 2019/20 season with Southend sitting sixth in the standings.

“It’s been horrible,” said Ward.

“It’s a difficult time for everyone and no club is coming through this shining bright.

“There’s a lot of off field stuff that has to be organised and sorted.

“It’s been difficult and there’s been nothing concrete.

“We don’t really know when the next game will be or what the league will look like.

“There are lots of unknowns but we’re keen to control what we can control and most of all we’re just glad to be back.”