Sheffield Eagles snap up Ireland second rower Will Hope

Will Hope
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Sheffield Eagles have added Ireland international Will Hope to their ranks, 24 hours after confirming Jordan Cox as their first close season signing.

The Eagles are stepping up preparations for the 2017 campaign, after a close season of uncertainty off the field which delayed director of rugby Mark Aston’s recruitment drive.

Following the news that the Eagles have stabilised behind the scenes, Aston has now been given the green light to confirm his new recruits, with Cox’s arrival closely followed by the signing of second-rower, and former Sheffield loanee, Hope.

Aston, who brought Hope to the Eagles initially in 2014, has been working with the 23-year-old with Ireland, and believes the ex-Salford man has plenty to offer.

"I have been lucky with Will because I already know him from when he came on loan from Salford a couple of seasons ago,” Aston told The Star.

“I liked him then, he was a little bit quiet and a bit of an introvert, so I wondered how he would handle being with this group of players.

“Since then though I have been lucky enough to coach him for Ireland over the last couple of years, and I have seen him mature into a player that has a massive work rate.

“Some of the things that people don't always see, I do. He has started to come out of his shell a little, he has started communicating more. You are not in systems if you don't have ability. He has always had ability and now he is finding his feet.

“He loves it at Sheffield, because he enjoyed it when he was here before, and again, I reckon he will have a massive impact on this club this season.”

Meanwhile, Cox’s signing has long been rumoured in rugby league circles, with Aston now tasked with getting the 24-year-old fit for the start of the campaign.

The Hull-born ace went under the knife for a knee problem last season, but is said to be ahead of schedule as the Eagles look to get the former Warrington forward fit for the start of the campaign.

The Eagles also confirmed that hooker Greg Burns had agreed a new deal on Saturday, and more signings and contract extensions are expected throughout this week, as Aston looks to put the finishing touches to his squad ahead of the season curtain raised against Oldham.