MATT Miles has taken over as Worthing Raiders Rugby Club’s new captain for the upcoming National League 2 South season and has set his sights on the top of the league.
He has taken over from James Arthur, who stepped down after two years as skipper, and believes Raiders are one of the favourites to be challenging for the title this season.
The 29-year-old, who joined Raiders at the start of last season, said: “It was a disappointment to finish mid-table last season as we had a top-four squad.
“I think that this year we are one of three or four favourites for the top two places.
“As a squad, we have identified possible favourites and we want to be up there, although won’t be too disappointed with a top-four or top-three finish.
“Last year, we didn’t get enough wins against the top sides but, hopefully, this year we’ll be able to change that.”
Raiders have their first friendly on Saturday, when they host Barking, with a 2pm start, and Miles, said: “We’re all looking forward to it.
“We’ve still got a small squad, like we had last season, as some players have come and some have gone but we’ve still got the same core of players that we had last year.”
Before joining Worthing, Miles played for Northampton Saints, Birmingham Solihull and Ulster. After leaving Ulster, he took a year out of the game before joining Raiders.
On how the move came about, he said: “I had a year out to take a step back and re-assess my goals.
“I applied for various universities and I knew Kieron Dawson (then Raiders’ forward coach, now head coach) from my time at Ulster.
“I spoke to him and to Will Green and the combination of a good rugby club and a good university at Sussex University made me decide to move to the area.
“It’s still a very good standard of rugby but isn’t quite so full on.”
Miles is also full of praise for Dawson, who took over from Green as head coach in the summer, and said: “It’s gone really well. Kieron had worked with us all before, so knew all about us and we knew about him.
“He’s tweaked a few things but has settled in very well and has a great set of coaches around him.
“We’re all just looking forward to getting out there and getting started now.”