The club is delighted to announce the signing of Irish international Will Hope.
Swinton Lions RLFC are thrilled to announce the signing of international second-rower or loose-forward Will Hope, who joins the Lions following a stint with Sheffield Eagles.
Will, a proud Swintonian, represents a significant capture, and will add considerable size, presence and experience to the Lions’ forward line. Will qualifies for Ireland through family connections and has been a virtual ever-present in the green jersey for the past four years. His most recent international appearance came during the recent World Cup when the Irish defeated Wales 34-6 in Perth.
24 year-old Will, who stands 6 foot 2 and weighs 14 st 9 lbs, cut his teeth with Swinton amateurs Folly Lane, before joining the Salford academy system. Will went on to make four appearances for Salford’s first team, and also spent time on loan at both Oldham and Sheffield Eagles during seasons 2013 and 2014.
In 2015 Will joined Oldham on a permanent transfer and helped the Roughyeds to the League One title. He spent 2016 in the Championship with Oldham before moving to Sheffield in time for the 2017 campaign. Will subsequently played 25 times for the Eagles and scored three tries in the process.
Swinton chairman Andy Mazey was relieved to conclude the paperwork. He 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. He said, “It’s fantastic to have agreed a contract with Will Hope. 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.”
Upon joining his home-town club, Will said, “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.”