Great Britain legend Lee Crooks has been appointed head coach of Wales’ Under-16s team.
The 55-year-old will work alongside his current positions in rugby league in Hull, where he is director of rugby at St Mary’s College and also assists with the development programmes at City of Hull Academy – the system that feeds players to both Hull FC and Hull KR.
Crooks has previously spent time coaching Keighley Cougars and York City Knights as well as Serbia on the international stage.
On taking over as Wales’ Under-16s head coach, Crooks said: “This is a great honour for me, I’m very privileged to be accepted into the role as I know that there were a lot of good applicants.
“What I want to do now is to continue the success of the Wales Under-16s programme and I know my target is really to get the Welsh lads ready for the under 19s programme.
“I also know that getting Welsh players into Super League sides is vital for the full Welsh international side. I’ve a lot of connections throughout the game, especially in youth RL, so if we have some amazing talent in Wales, I will point them in the right direction, not just in City of Hull Academy but all round the country, I’ll distribute them across the game.
“The more Welsh players we can get across the game, the better for the future of Wales RL. I’ll be aiming to have lads from Wales who are new to the game as well as heritage players, as it’s important to get them on the WRL ladder straight away. The better the team we have, the more we can compete against nations like England and France.”
Crooks earned 19 caps for Great Britain during his playing career. He played for England once and is a three-time Yorkshire representative.
Crooks is one of the most successful players in the British game, scoring 76 tries and kicking 1,057 goals in 526 career appearances.