EASTLEIGH Rugby Club have announced their new coaching team for the upcoming campaign - as and when it can get started due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The club were sat in third place in London Two South West last season when the league was curtailed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following the premature end, coach Phil Osman stepped down – with former Bournemouth director of rugby Will Croker entering the hot seat as head coach.

Croker brings a wealth of experience after leading Bournemouth to promotion to the fourth tier of the English game, while also winning Rugby World Team of the Year for the margin by which they won the league.

The new head coach said: “I’m delighted to have become involved with Eastleigh, a club where there’s a huge amount of talent and enormous appetite to learn.

“The players have hit pre-season hard and with a few additions I’d like to think we would have a team that can strive for promotion.”

Chairman Mark Jones added: “After receiving a number of strong applications it was decided to offer the opportunity to Will Croker alongside backs coaches Kevin Cotterell and Mal Roberts, forwards coach James Croker and technical analyst Karl Rand.

“It’s an exciting time for the club and the fresh impetus has seen numbers swell, we can’t wait to see how the boys go when we finally get under way.”

Cotterell has worked with Will Croker before in their time at Basingstoke, during their successful promotion-winning campaign to the National Leagues.

Roberts, the Army head coach, will be joining on a consultancy-based role with a focus on attack, with James Croker doing a similar role with forward play.

Will Croker said: “This coaching group has so much cohesion and experience that we are all learning off each other when we come together.

“The players have bought into the vision and it can only be good for the club to have a joined up coaching group focusing on all three senior sides.”

Pre-season training continues Tuesdays and a Thursdays at the Hub in Eastleigh from 7pm. All new players are welcome.