Ayrshire Bulls Head Coach Pat MacArthur says his squad is improving week on week as they build up their preparation ahead of their return to competitive rugby.

The Bulls have been out of action for over a year, with their debut season in Pro 6’s being cut short, with the Millbrae side reaching the semi-final, and then eventually declared null and void due to COVID restrictions.

Since that verdict there has been a lot of change at the club including former head coach Peter Murchie leaving the club to become the assistant coach at the Glasgow Warriors at the start of the year.

He was subsequently replaced by MacArthur taking his first ever head coach role back in May and he has since been in charge for the bulls second ever season as a semi-professional side.

Lockdown meant the side were unable to fully train when MacArthur took over however, he is delighted that they are back to full action now.

He said: “We are training flat out at the moment, three times a week, which is brilliant and all the players are really enjoying being back.

“The quality is getting higher and higher every week since I arrived which is very pleasing.

“We had our first preseason hit out against Stirling and it was the first game for a lot of the players in 16 months.

“The score was not the be all and end all of it, it was about a controlled return to full contact against other players because you have to be understanding about how long the players have been out for.

“The squad’s physicality was exactly where I want to be and the attitude was brilliant too, everyone was keen to get out there and put their best foot forward.

“Which is good to see because there is a lot of competition in our squad at the moment. “

The competitive factor of the squad has only increased in recent weeks with the bulls announcing a raft of signings in recent weeks across the pitch.

Two of the most recent arriving at Millbrae are utility back Robert Beattie and second row Tom Everard.

MacArthur said: “Beattie is a top player, who has played a lot of professional rugby over the last seven or eight years and is someone I played with at Glasgow Warriors.

“He adds a real strength in depth to the squad, he can start or play in various positions across the back line.

“We also want encourage the top players in our region who want to be successful in semi-pro rugby to come to us.

“Tom is quality too; he is a physical presence on the pitch and weighs over 100 kilos. He gives us a good bit of weight , to push us forward and bring real aggression to the squad.

“He is the poshest sounding man you will ever meet but he has a real tough side to him. “

Next up for the Bulls is a preseason friendly away to Melrose in a fortnight.