NORTH Devon Raiders have appointed a new head coach on the eve of their third season in the South Western Rugby League.

Former Barnstaple flanker Jason Slade was due to take charge of his first training session tonight (Wednesday) in preparation for the Raiders’ first outing of the year - the South West Nines at Exeter on Sunday, May 6.

Slade has previous experience with the club, having played in the Raiders’ first ever game against the Devon Sharks back in 2010.

Since then he has launched his own fitness and coaching business, 3Flow.

In addition to overseeing the team, the new head coach will also be providing training advice and facilities as well as providing sleeve sponsorship for the club’s new shirts.

The Raiders have also regained the services of Barnstaple full back Will Topps after missing him last term, when he was playing Rugby Union in New Zealand.

Topps was named Player of the Year in 2010 and he will assist Slade on the coaching side as well as regaining his custodian spot for Blue and Yellows.

“Numbers at training have been good so far, but with the Union season coming to a close we would welcome anyone who wants to continue playing rugby through the summer,” said club spokesman Keith Fillingham.

“Having Jason and Will on board this year should, hopefully, see us improve on our fourth place finish last year and gain a place in the play-offs this time.”

Raiders’ training continues at Barnstaple Rugby Club every Wednesday evening from 7pm throughout the season, until the end of July.