THE LACK OF RUGBY hasn’t detoured Southend Saxons continuing their preparations ahead of the 2020/21 London One North campaign.
Having already secured the future of a number of their key assets, the popular Warners Bridge club have announced a change of captaincy, with Matt Wagstaff and Ben Lloyd now at the helm in a co-combination.
The duo replaces Ian Morrison – skipper for the previous three seasons – who has stood down from the role. It is believed to be the first time in their 150-year history that the club has appointed co-captains.
Speaking about the move, Director of Rugby, Josh Ward, explained; “The first thing to do is acknowledge what an excellent job Ian Morrison has done for our club. Taking on the captaincy role is a tough challenge in itself but to do it through recent turbulent times, he’s done really well. Ian is awaiting surgery on his shoulder which is important as we’re looking forward to seeing Ian back out on the pitch.
“I’ve used these uncertain times to reflect pretty in-depth, freshen up some areas and make sure we are prepped for whenever we get the green light to train and play again. Waggy and Lloydy are both great leaders not just verbally but practically in driving collective standards. It’s a great challenge for them both and one I’m looking forward to seeing them progress in.”
“Ian took over the Captaincy in 2017/18 at a very difficult time for the club, following a few tough years in the pitch, and a turbulent dressing room throughout his initial stages of leadership. As a club, we want to put on record our thanks to Ian for all he has done for the club – and to his wife Rebecca for supporting Ian throughout.”
The newly-appointed duo are clearly relishing their opportunity, with Wagstaff saying; “Entering the 150th year for the club is hugely exciting and to be asked to co-captain the side alongside Ben is a huge privilege. I think it has come at the right time for me and I am looking forward to leading the club and squad through the coming seasons.
“After having captained a few games at the end of last season, I enjoyed the role and can’t wait to get things rolling on a permanent basis with Lloydy. This is a great honour for me and I look forward to doing my best to lead the club forwards as a player, and now also as skipper.
“Finally, I would like to say that Ian has done a great job during a difficult time for the club, and think he deserves a lot of praise! We look forward to welcoming back Ian in the new season from his injury.”
Meanwhile, Lloyd added; “It’s a really exciting point in time for the club and to co-captain this group of men going into the new season is a real privilege.
“When Josh asked if I wanted to take it on, it was a no brainer for me. Having dabbled in the role towards the back end of last season, it’s something I enjoyed and co-captaining with Wags in a few games it was pretty natural for both of us, so I’m looking forward to doing that permanently.
“We’ve got ambitions as a group that we want to fulfil, so hopefully, Matt and I can lead from the front and help us achieve those.”
Meanwhile, outgoing captain, Morrison added: “I joined the club from Bury St Edmunds, and I knew it was a special club then. That opinion hasn’t changed and it has been an honour and pleasure to be captain of a brilliant club steeped in history. I am proud to be able to say I’m part of a privileged group. A huge thank-you to all those who’ve given me the opportunity and supported me both on and off the pitch. I am excited to remain part of the long term project we have within the club and hope to push the team forward in any way I can in the future.”
Southend Saxons hope to have their pre-season plans in place over the next few weeks and with one or two new faces possibly arriving, the club are on the lookout for assistance with accommodation, work opportunities or sponsorship for new or existing players. Anyone in a position to assist should contact Andy Speed at [email protected]