Castleford Tigers make key backroom appointment

Castleford Tigers have appointed England Community Lions coach Rob Nickolay as their new head of youth development.

Nickolay, 32, joined Castleford last year as education and development manager but will now head up the entirely of their youth pathway, including the Reserves, Academy, Scholarship and College programmes.

“I’m massively excited, first and foremost to be associated with a club that has as much history and heritage as Castleford,” said Nickolay, who has also previously held roles at Hull Kingston Rovers and Hull FC and with the City of Hull Academy.

“It is an exciting time to be a part of the new era with Radders (head coach Lee Radford) and the new staff coming in, and it’s something I’m really excited to get started with.

“The role will encompass everything in terms of the youth that is involved within the club, from whether you pick up a rugby ball somewhere in Castleford it’ll be my job to try and make sure we find a pathway for that player to develop – both in the male and female game, and wider from that as well.”

Castleford were initially one of three clubs set to lose their Elite Academy status last year before an RFL U-turn, and Nickolay believes that should never be in doubt again.

“100 per cent for me we should be rated outstanding,” he said. “Moving forward that is what I’m here for, to make sure that we not only achieve a licence but exceed one.

“I would like us to be a blueprint of what talent development looks like in rugby league and people might say that is ambitious, but for me, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could achieve that.

“It shouldn’t be questioned in future; we should be making sure that we are putting our right foot forward and presenting everything we can – we have a more than strong enough case to be rated outstanding.”