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Welcome to Surrey Rugby

In the Season before a Rugby World Cup in the country where the game was invented and where the next tournament is due to be held, it would be understandable if that occasion was allowed to dominate our proceedings over forthcoming months.

Inevitably we will be involved in preparations for the World Cup and we will wish to accommodate rugby's International body and the RFU in their endeavours and show the world what we can achieve with vigour and commitment. It will of course be a very challenging time. There will be many calls made upon us but I'm sure we will not be found wanting. Unquestionably, we will do all we can to ensure the success of the event being played out on the world stage.

However, we will also need to keep our eyes on the Surrey "ball" to ensure that our normal programme of activities continues imperceptibly throughout the Season almost as though this was a 'normal' year - normal for Surrey being regarded as quite exceptional elsewhere.

What has come as a personal eye-opener has been the extent of rugby in Surrey. Being invited to sit in on recent meetings has provided a keen insight into the intense and dedicated work which goes on behind the scenes to ensure that Surrey is one of the most progressive and enterprising counties. Our involvement in Minis and Junior (Youth), Schools, Women's and Men's rugby in addition to Clubs' and Competitions' is quite remarkable and a great credit to all those collectively involved. And, it would be remiss not to highlight the growing interest in the women's game and recognise Surrey's contribution.

The 2013/14 Season was an excellent one for Surrey. More people played the game and the crop of trophies achieved, including

the National Shield, was itself testament to the effectiveness of our organisation and the spirit with which the game is played in this Constituent Body of the RFU. In 2014/15 we have a duty to emulate if not surpass that achievement. For a continuation of that level of activity and to fully participate in and enjoy the World Cup will doubtless require additional commitment. Hopefully our families will understand and cut us some slack in what promises to be an exceptional year. I'm confident we'll come through with flying colours.

It is a privilege to become President of Surrey rugby. I look forward to meeting many friends and acquaintances with whom I have shared numerous rugby triumphs and some disasters and to hopefully meet many young people playing the game combining their natural talent, skill, enthusiasm and determination to succeed.

I wish you all a spectacular Season and trust that the thrill of the game will stay with you throughout your life.

John Raywood