Harpenden Rugby Club is preparing for the first game of the new season against Old Priorians this Saturday, September 7, following their promotion to London One North.

The Harps climbed up a division after their play-off victory over Romford and Gidea Park and have been training with head coach Matt Davies since early June.

The club have been buoyed by the return of former England Counties centre Jimmy Speirs, as well as ex-Saracens academy player Harry Hutchins, who have both recovered from serious knee injuries ahead of the new campaign.

They will be joined by Kiwi Bobby Tane who spent last season playing in Spain and Matthew Dean who has been recruited from Old Albanians.

Ollie Mann has also returned to the fold at full fitness after missing a lot of the last campaign through injury, while former Wasps academy full-back Conor McLean is now available following his time at university.

Another addition in the shape of flanker Matt Jillians has also arrived, while loose head prop George Rolfe has moved to Championship outfit Ampthill.

Ahead of the new season, captain Oli Lacey said Harpended were feeling optimistic about their chances this season and that they were not worried, despite the step up in quality that they will be facing.

"There’s a really positive mood about the club," he said. "We can’t wait for the start of the new season.

"Although we know stepping up into a bigger league will be a challenge, we’re not all worried; in fact we’re hoping we can make a statement.

“Teams that have been promoted from London Two North West in recent years have generally established themselves and we’re quietly confident that we can do the same.”