SOUTHEND Saxons’ preparations for the forthcoming season have been boosted by a coaching session from Saracens legend Kelly Brown.

The 39-year-old made 163 appearances for Sarries during his own playing career and also won 64 caps for Scotland.

But Brown, who is now back coaching at Saracens, took time out of his schedule to put Southend through their paces at Warners Bridge – much to the delight of Saxons’ director of rugby Josh Ward.

“Kelly is gold,” said Ward.

“The main thing for me is that we keep our content fresh.

“But in order to do that we want to welcome different voices in and we want to make use of the links we’ve got.

“Tonight was the Saracens link and Sid (Hoult) has done a lot with Kelly before and the academy staff.

“It’s great for the boys and we want to offer the best quality product we can.”

Southend are now back in training ahead of the London One North campaign which gets underway at the start of September.

And Ward felt the coaching session was hugely beneficial.

“Kelly’s focus was defence which is his primary role at Sarries now,” said Ward.

“We’re looking at our shape now and how we’re setting up.

“We’re a fairly new group so this helped the boys but also us as coaches.

“It gives you new ideas to play around with and it was good to see him again.”

Southend start their season at home to Colchester on Saturday September 4.

And Ward cannot wait to see his side back in action.

“The last competitive game we had was March 2020,” said Ward.

“We had Ruislip away and the Priors played Rochford here on the Friday.

“I’m trying to remember the routine but I really miss the adrenaline.

“We can’t wait and it’s what we need.

“We’ve done a lot of training on and off for the last year or so with no real end goal.

“This is our second pre-season and the boys have been terrific.

“To have it back is going to sbe pecial for everyone connected with the club.”

But, despite the lack of matches due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ward feels Saxons have still been able to make progress.

“It’s been turbulent but we’ve had a lot of positive changes,” said Ward.

“We’ve linked up with a community group and now have a full-time community department working out of the club.

“It’s phenomenal really and a very professional model.

“They’re representing us Monday to Friday in local schools and holding camps too.

“We will also be looking to set up a walking touch rugby group for senior people.

“We’re trying to cater for everyone in the community and that’s a long-term vision of ours.

“It’s very exciting.”