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Hull clubs in controversial move to merge academies

Hull FC and Hull KR are to risk the wrath of their fans by casting aside their fierce rivalry to merge their youth development systems.

Credit: Press Association

In a controversial move, the Super League clubs are to combine their academies from 2016 at a new set-up based at Bishop Burton College, the home of Hull City's academy.

The clubs have yet to come up with a name for the under-16 and under-19s teams but have agreed they will play in the neutral colours of yellow and blue while progress to the first teams will be determined by a draft system.

The move has been welcomed by the Rugby Football League.

It is in no way, shape or form a pre-cursor to a full merger between the clubs. We have always been outspoken about the pride, passion, history and rivalry that exists between the two sides and that will never change.

– Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell

We often shout about Hull as a hotbed of rugby league talent, a founding home for the sport, but the harsh reality is that the talent pool is smaller than it once was. The base cost of running successful academies of this nature is growing and the opportunity to spend quality and focused development time with our young athletes faces numerous challenges.

– Hull FC owner Adam Pearson

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Hull KR coach calls on club legend to help inspire Challenge Cup success

Hull Kingston Rovers head coach Chris Chester has called on a club legend from the past to help inspire his team ahead of their Challenge Cup quarter final against Catalans tonight.

Earlier this week Chester invited former player Mike Smith to talk to his players about the 1980 Challenge Cup final, in which Rovers beat their bitter rivals Hull FC at Wembley. Chris Dawkes has the story

Rovers duo discard contract release clauses

Overseas duo Albert Kelly and Maurice Blair have declared their commitment to Hull KR for 2016 by discarding release clauses in their contracts.

Maurice Blair (above) and Albert Kelly to stay at Hull KR until the end of 2016 Credit: Press Association

The former Gold Coast Titans team-mates had options to return to the NRL at the end of their first season in Super League but the deadline expired on Sunday and Rovers say both players have opted to stay at the club next season.

The announcement comes two months after club captain Terry Campese agreed a two-year extension to his initial 12-month contract.

Hull KR coach Chester said: "It is really important for us moving forwards that we retain our best players and Albert and Bobby certainly fit into that category.

"Bobby has done a great job in the halves over the last month and we've already seen his quality and versatility at centre and in the back row. Albert is a special talent who has made a huge impact on the competition and he is a player that supporters are excited to watch.

"For both players to want to stay at the club shows we are heading in the right direction and really highlights the spirit and togetherness within the squad."

Kelly said: "Bobby and I are good friends and I know I speak for the both of us when I say we are really enjoying our time over here at Hull KR and the style of rugby played in the Super League competition.

"We're enjoying living in the UK, as are my family, and we're exciting about being part of this club."

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Super League set for magic weekend

Thousands of rugby league fans will make the journey up to Newcastle tomorrow for the annual Magic Weekend event.

One of the most anticipated fixtures at St James' Park will be the meeting of Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers.

Despite Rovers coming out on top the last time the sides met in March their head coach Chris Chester believes his team are underdogs:

Meanwhile the final match of the weekend sees Super League leaders Leeds take on third placed Wigan, and skipper Kevin Sinfield says his team are out for revenge for their previous two Magic Weekend defeats:

Rovers make up for league humiliation with dramatic Challenge Cup win

Hull KR turned the tables in sensational fashion to knock Wigan out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with a nail-biting 16-12 victory.

Press Association

Just a fortnight after suffering a 60-0 humiliation in Super League, Rovers exacted sweet revenge in a rousing sixth-round tie at Leigh Sports Village.

Despite an error-strewn performance, the Warriors were on course for a record-extending 20th trophy when leading 12-10 with eight minutes to go.

However, Hull KR centre Ken Sio pounced on the latest of a series of handling errors, this time from England international Dan Sarginson, to go over for the match-winning try.

Free tickets for KR fans who witnessed Wigan whitewash

Hull Kingston Rovers have announced that they will offer fans who made the trip to Wigan and saw the Robins crash to a 60-0 defeat free tickets to the Ladbrooks Challenge Cup tie on May 15th.

Chris Chester who admitted on Friday night that what fans witnessed “was not a Hull KR performance” said he wanted to do his bit to repay those supporters who made the trip in an unprecedented move.

I looked across to the away end and saw the fans doing the conga while we trailed 60-0 and thought they don’t deserve this. We’ve had a chat as a club and have decided that the right thing to do as a one-off is to pay for the fans who made the trip on Friday a ticket to the Cup game in two weeks. That’s a massive game for us so we want to take a big and noisy following and make it a real Cup tie. As I’ve already said I am confident it will be a totally different game to what we saw on Friday.

– Chris Chester, Hull KR coach

Friday was a tough day for everyone at the club but the unwavering support coming from the away end of the DW Stadium was nothing short of phenomenal. We know fans pay their hard earned money to follow us home and away and we never take that for granted. That was our 4th away game in a row on the back of an expensive weekend away to Catalan for many and it would have been easy for them to stay at home and watch it on TV. Sport is of course notorious for having ups and downs so we certainly don’t intend to make this a precedent but we felt we had to do something to thank those fans for their ongoing support as a one-off gesture because of these unique circumstances.

– Mike Smith, Hull KR CEO
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