London Scottish have set their stall out for promotion to the Championship after securing the signature of former All Black Sam Harding among a raft of changes at the Athletic Ground.

New head coach Simon Amor, who replaced director of rugby Brett Taylor as chief in May, unveiled 12 new faces at the weekend to kick-off the post-Taylor era with a bang.

Back rower Harding, 29, was capped by New Zealand in 2002 and has played Super 14 rugby for the Highlanders and the Crusaders, as well as enjoying spells with Ulster and Northampton Saints before moving to Spanish club Ciencias Sevilla CR.

His arrival follows the retirements of former Harlequins star Paul Volley and Iain Fullarton, as Scottish go in search of reaching the second tier of English rugby having finished well adrift of National League One champions Esher last season.

Amor expects many of his younger players to be virtual full-timers, while chief executive Tony Copsey claims the moves represent a new dawn for the club.

“This coming season will no doubt be tough so I am delighted we have been able to strengthen the squad with some key experience and exciting talent,” said Amor.

“A number of the younger players will be effectively full-time to enable them to focus on developing their rugby skills and careers.

“We still have a couple of signings to confirm, but are very near to completing our squad for next season"

Copsey added: “In a season that will mark a clear direction for the club both on and off the field it is vital we have a squad that is up for the challenge.”

Taylor guided Scottish into a new-look National League One having secured the National Division Three South title without losing a game, but was unable to take them that extra step last season.

And the former Northampton Saints scrum-half felt the time was right to move on.

“I have met some wonderful and passionate people at the club and have had the honour of working with some great players,” he said.

“I have been discussing my future at the club for some time now and thank them for their patience.

“I feel that I have come to a natural cross roads and wish now to look for my next challenge.”

New Faces

Back-row Sam Harding (Ciencias Sevilla CR), back-row Lewis Calder (Exeter Chiefs), hooker Adam Kwasnicki (Barking), hooker Craig McGrath (Newbury), loosehead Alex Clarke (Bristol), tighthead Frazer Gibson (Staines), second-row Josh Brown (Bristol), fly-half Craig Ratford (Barking), centre Dan Cootes (Army), centre Oli Holmes (Wasps Acedemy), winger Tim Holgate (Tring), winger Stephen Hihetah (Wasps Academy).