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Rovers add promising young duo to ranks

Hull Kingston Rovers have continued to strengthen the first team squad ahead of the club’s return to the Betfred Super League with the capture of highly rated young duo Will Dagger and Connor Williams.

Dagger, 18, makes the move to KCOM Craven Park from Warrington Wolves on a three-year contract after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee for his services. Predominantly a full back, he can also play in the halves or on the wing and is currently on England Academy duty for their two-test series against France.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Williams joins on a one-year deal from Salford Red Devils where he worked with Rovers head coach Tim Sheens and earned his Super League debut back in 2016. Another promising outside back, Williams can play at full back, centre or wing.

The young dup take the club’s tally of new players for 2018 to three following the prized capture of Leeds Rhinos captain and Saturday’s Harry Sunderland Trophy winner Danny McGuire, with recruitment for next season continuing behind the scenes.

Head Coach Tim Sheens said: “We’re really pleased to bring two promising young players into the club to complement those here who have already come through the City of Hull Academy.

“Connor is somebody I know well from our time at Salford. He can cover two or three positions in the outside backs and is really looking forward to his opportunity here. He’s experienced Super League already and was probably a bit unfortunate not to have had more game time over there, so we’re looking forward to adding him to our squad.

“Will is a current England Academy international who’s got a lot of potential. Again, he’s already had first team experience and we see a lot of ability in him. Both lads are only young and alongside the likes of Will Oakes, Joe Wardill and Joe Cator, it bodes well for the future of the club moving forward.”

Dagger is expected to feature for England Academy against France this evening alongside new Rovers teammate Oakes. He previously made four first team appearances for the Wolves despite still being eligible to play for the under-19s next season.

He told “This is an opportunity for me to move a bit closer to home and link up with a really exciting club. I just feel like I’ll be able to work a bit better with Tim Sheens and that’s something I’m excited about. As a coach and a player, I feel like we’ll be able to work together to improve my game and I’m just really ready to rip in and get into the swing of things.

“I’ve had a talk with Tim and he’s seen me play half back and full back a few times. I can also fill in at centre or on the wing so I’m comfortable in a few positions. My natural position is probably full back where I like to attack the line and play what’s in front of me, but I’m happy to go wherever the coaching staff see me fitting in.

“I’m currently on tour with England Academy and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a good group of lads with some really good coaches and Paul Sculthorpe has been helping us out as well. I’ve been rooming with Will (Oakes) and he’s somebody I know well. We started off together at Wakefield and we’ll be playing together for England tonight, so it’ll be great to have him already at Rovers when I get there.

“I’ve had a few weeks off before this England tour so I might have one or two more after these matches against France and then I’ll be straight across to Hull KR. I can’t wait to get training and really push hard to earn a first team position.”

Williams will link up with Rovers for the start of pre-season training next month and he added: “I’m really looking forward to joining Hull KR. It’s a big challenge for me coming over from Salford where I made my Super League debut but it’s the start of a new chapter and I can’t wait.

“I’ll be travelling over to training initially with a few of the boys and then looking to move across after Christmas. Initially, I’ll be just focusing on working hard and getting to know all the lads. There’s a few experienced here who will really be able to help my game and I’ve heard some really good things about the club.

“I think Hull KR are looking long-term and thinking about bringing players through the ranks. That’s the sort of environment I want to be in. Tim helped me a lot last year just speaking to him at training and things like that and I’m sure it will be the same here.”

Photo: Rovers add promising young duo to ranks