Hull KR enter dual-registration partnership with Championship club

James Gordon
Hull KR Craven Park

Super League club Hull KR have agreed a dual-registration partnership with Championship side Keighley Cougars for the 2023 season.

The link will see some of Hull KR’s young and upcoming talent get the opportunity to gain first-team experience at Keighley Cougars.

Cougars head coach Lovegrove added: “We’ve worked hard on this partnership and it will be big for us. Hull KR’s recruitment and work within youth rugby is up there with the best, if not the best within the country.

“We’re all for developing Keighley rugby league and the more depth in our squad we can get, the better we become.

“It will further challenge people for positions but also if you have an injury or a ban throughout the year, there’s somebody to lean on and utilise if needed.”

Signing boost for Keighley

Meanwhile, Keighley have signed Leeds back-rower Joe Gibbons on a season-long loan.

Son of former Rhinos player David Gibbons, second rower Joe was one of a number of players picked up from Wetherby Bulldogs by Leeds Rhinos.

Gibbons had been promoted to 2023 Leeds Rhinos first team following a very successful 2022 season in the Reserves where he was one of the team’s top performers over the course of the season. Playing in nine out of 13 games, he continued his try-scoring record to finish the year with six (including braces in wins over Castleford and Newcastle).

Lovegrove said: “I’ve been looking round the player market now all competitions are settling down and when I was alerted to Joe’s availability. He’s a player with a great deal of leg speed, runs good lines and has a good attribute of skills. I am looking forward to welcoming Joe to Cougar Park and getting him settled in the team. He goes straight into our squad for the weekends game.”

Keighley enjoyed an invincible season in 2022 to win the League 1 title, and have won two of five games in the Championship since promotion.

They travel to Halifax Panthers this weekend.

Leeds Rhinos head coach, Rohan Smith added: “This is a great opportunity for Joe to play regularly in a tough competition in the Betfred Championship. He worked incredibly hard during pre-season and did well in our trial games. This will be the next step for him as a young forward and I look forward to seeing how he progresses at Keighley.”

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