Swinton Lions have landed Ireland international Will Hope.
The 24-year-old has spent the last two seasons in the Championship with Swinton and Sheffield, playing 25 times for the Eagles last season.
Club chairman Andy Mazey said: “I am absolutely delighted we finally have Will on board with us. Will is a player Stuart knows well and identified very early in on our recruitment drive last autumn as someone who would add value to our team and club. It is a timely boost for us to be able to conclude a deal which sees us acquire an established Championship quality forward. In fact Will is not only just proven at Championship level, as he also holds valuable experience at International level with Ireland. The fact that he is a Swinton boy who is proud to be signing for his home-town club is another added bonus.”
Lions’ Head Coach Stuart Littler was also delighted with the new addition to his squad.
“It’s fantastic to have agreed a contract with Will Hope,” he said.
“Will is a proven international who has represented Ireland at the top level of the sport. As well as possessing vast experience, Will is also a local boy who will bring with him pride and passion to our famous jersey. He will commence training with us immediately and I am excited to get him integrated into our squad. Will is a player that I identified a while back having played with him for Ireland, so I know exactly what he is about. We have been in contact for a good while and so it’s great to finally be in a position to officially announce him as a Swinton player. Welcome aboard Will.”
Hope added: “I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I did have some business to sort out away from the rugby pitch, but now that’s out of the way I’m really looking forward to getting started. My grandad Jim Hope played for Swinton and captained them at times I think, so it will be a proud thing to follow in his footsteps. As you’d expect a lot of my family and friends are Lions’ fans, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“Over the years the time has never been right to play for Swinton, but I’m grateful that it is now. Having played with Stuart and a couple of the other lads over the years I’m sure we’ll have some laughs along the way and I’ll really enjoy it. Hopefully I can work my way into the team and contribute to what will be a long and tough season ahead. At least I shouldn’t get any stick from the Swinton fans now! Actually with the likes of Wadey out there I probably still will! But joking apart I can’t wait to get out on the pitch in a Swinton shirt.”