Peterborough Lions are ready to roar in the English Clubs Championship.
The Bretton-based side, who play in the Midlands Premiership (formerly National League Division Three), have the first of their pre-season friendlies on Saturday.
They travel to Ampthill to take part in a three-way tournament alongside their Bedfordshire hosts from National League Division One and Newport from the Welsh Premier Division.
“It’ll be a tough test for us, we know that, but we’re ready to roar,” said chairman Andy Moore. “We’re not just going there to shake off a few cobwebs either - our new coach has the bit between his teeth and wants to win both games.”
That new coach is Tongan World Cup player Viliami Ma’asi, who succeeds Darren Fox at the helm. Fox moved to Cambridge at the end of last season after three years in charge.
And Ma’asi has recruited strongly during the summer. Ten new players will be in Saturday’s squad - four of them Tongans.
“And I’ll tell you what, one of those Tongans - a young centre - is brilliant. I haven’t seen skills like he’s got at our level since Jacques Vorster. He’s sheer class - lovely hands and a great change of pace,” enthused Moore. “And we’re delighted to welcome back Conor Gracey - that’s a massive plus.”
Number eight Gracey spent last season playing for Loughborough Students in National League One.
“Ten new players in and nobody - apart from Foxy - has left. The squad looks so strong.
“We’ve been training hard and can’t wait for the season to start.”
The Lions first league game is away at Bridgnorth on September 2. Next weekend (August 26) they play National League Two side South Leicester at Bretton Park in a friendly.