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Rugby League braced for Hull derby

Both head coaches from cross city rivals Hull FC and Hull KR have been building up the significance of this Friday's derby at the KC Stadium.

FC coach Lee Radford all but admitted defeat in his club's quest for the Super League playoffs after last weekend's defeat to Bradford.

But his opposite number Chris Chester, who signed a new three year contract yesterday, knows a win for his side will put them in the running for a shot at the end of season playoffs:

Rovers appoint Chester as head coach

Hull Kingston Rovers have appointed Chris Chester as the club’s head coach on a permanent basis, signed a three-year deal at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

Chester in 2011 Credit: Press Association

The former Robins player and assistant coach was placed in temporary charge of all first team duties in July following the departure of Craig Sandercock.

Speaking to www.hullkr.co.uk, he said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s a dream come true for me and I’m going to do my utmost to get this side back to where it belongs.

“It’s a great honour and privilege to be the head coach of Hull Kingston Rovers and I want to put on record my thanks to the directors who have been fantastic with me over the past six weeks.

Chris Chester Credit: hullkr.co.uk

“It’s been a testing period with some ups and downs but I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity. I’ve not been afraid to make the big decisions, I’ve been honest with the players and they’ve been honest with me in return, so hopefully that will continue.

A former England Schools captain, Chester enjoyed spells with Halifax, Wigan, Hull FC and the Robins during a distinguished playing career and featured in two Super League Grand Finals as well as a Challenge Cup final.

Hanging up his boots in 2008 through injury, he joined Hull KR’s coaching staff following a brief spell working with Castleford’s academy and has served his apprenticeship as the assistant to both Justin Morgan and Sandercock over the past six seasons.

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Rovers sign Broncos' threequarter Dixon

Hull KR have completed the re-construction of their new threequarter line with the signing of England Knights winger Kieran Dixon on a three-year contract from London Broncos.

Kieran Dixon signs for Hull KR Credit: Press Association

Dixon has been recognised as one of the most promising talents in Super League since bursting onto the scene two years ago but a move to big-spending Salford fell through at the end of last season when he sustained a major knee injury playing for the Knights against Samoa.

Dixon, who made his Super League comeback in the Broncos' shock 40-36 win over Leeds on Sunday, when he took his try tally to 38 in 52 appearances, is the Robins' fifth new recruit for 2015 and will join Ken Sio, Josh Mantellato and Darrell Goulding in a new-look back line.

I wanted a new challenge and when I had the opportunity to come here I was very honoured. I'll be moving my family from one side of the country to the other so it is going to be a big change for us but one we are excited about.

There's a big history at the club and the derby was something that appealed to me too. I've been in London my whole life and there isn't anything like the rivalry in Hull down there.

I spoke to some boys that have played here and they say the city splits in two on derby day. I can't wait to be a part of it and show everyone what I can do for the red and white half of the city.

– Kieran Dixon

Dixon is the fourth confirmed London player to retain his Super League status following the Broncos' relegation to the Championship. Atelea Vea is joining St Helens and Denny Solomona and Matt Cook have secured moves to Castleford.

Donaldson signs for Robins

Forward James Donaldson has become the latest player from relegated Bradford to secure his Super League future by signing a two-year deal with Hull KR.

James Donaldson who has signed for Hull KR Credit: Press Association

The 22-year-old second rower will link up with the Robins in November and becomes their fourth new recruit for 2015 following the addition of Wigan centre Darrell Goulding and overseas duo Ken Sio and Josh Mantellato.

Rovers coach Chris Chester said: "James is exactly the sort of player that we want to bring to the club in that he is young, hungry and works very hard at his game.

"He's got a good engine on him, he plays big minutes and he doesn't miss many tackles so he'll be a great fit for us."

A former England schoolboy international, Cumbria-born Donaldson has racked up close to 70 Super League appearances for the Bulls since making his debut in 2009.

"I feel like I've progressed a lot over the last few years but I know I've got a lot more to give and I feel the best place to do that is at Hull Kingston Rovers," he said.

"I've been at Bradford for seven years now and I needed a new challenge. I'm ready to be taken out of my comfort zone and hopefully something fresh will spark me up.

"I'll be working with new players, new coaches and new ideas, it's a totally

clean start for me to come here and I can't wait for it."

Donaldson is the fourth Bradford player to confirm his departure following their relegation to the Championship. Manase Manuokafoa is staying in Super League with Widnes, while Jamal Fakir and Brett Kearney are returning to France and Australia respectively.

Hull KR tie down two youth players

Hull KR have given two-year contract extensions to back-row forwards Aaron Ollett and Steven Holker, two products of their academy system.

Ollett and Holker sign new deals Credit: Hull KR

Ollett, 21, made his Super League debut last June and has appeared in six of the Robins' last seven matches.

Holker, 18, has yet to play Super League having spent most of the season on the injury list.

It's a weight off my shoulders to sign a new deal and now I want to kick on and have another strong season next year. I've been pleased with the amount of games I've had at the back end of this season and I feel as though I've been able to prove my worth to the club. It's now up to me to cement a regular first team spot next season.

– Aaron Ollett

Rovers secure Jason Chan on loan

Hull KR have signed Huddersfield's Papua New Guinea international Jason Chan on loan to the end of the season.

Jason Chan signed on loan from Huddersfield

The 30-year-old second rower has made 16 appearances for the Giants so far this year but is currently out of favour and is out of contract at the end of the year.

We are delighted to welcome Jason to the club until the end of the season and we are looking forward to seeing him pull on the Rovers shirt. We've got one or two injuries in the pack at the moment so to bring in such a quality player at this stage of the year is a real bonus for the club.

– Rovers caretaker-coach Chris Chester

Chan met his new team-mates for training on Thursday morning and is likely to make his debut in Sunday's First Utility Super League home game against Salford.

Chan has made 63 appearances for the Giants since joining them from Crusaders ahead of the 2012 season but looks to have played his last match for them.

We wish Jason every possible success and thank him for his contribution to our club where he will be remembered as being a major part of the squad that delivered us our first League Leaders shield in 81 years

– Huddersfield managing director Richard Thewlis

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Hall agrees Wakefield move

Craig Hall Credit: Press Association

Wakefield have signed Hull KR centre Craig Hall on a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old former Hull player will join up with the Wildcats at the end of the season when his contract with the Robins runs out.

"I've had four good years at Rovers and now I want to take my experience to a fresh start at Wakefield," said Hall.

"I've loved every minute at Rovers. It's the club I supported growing up so it's been a proud four years for me. Hopefully we can pick up some good results between now and the end of the season then I can have a good rest and really rip in to pre-season and have a big year next year."

Hall has spent his entire career on Humberside apart from a five-game loan spell at Widnes where he played alongside Wakefield head coach, James Webster.

"I'm delighted to get Craig on board for 2015," said Webster. "Craig is a player that possesses great speed and we feel that his all-round game and versatility will add plenty to our current squad."

Hull KR chief executive Mike Smith said: "I'd like to thank Craig for everything he has done for the club over the past four seasons.

"With Darrell Goulding joining us for next season and adding to the likes of Kris Welham, Liam Salter and Macauley Hallett who are already in the squad, we have plenty of options in the centres and can appreciate Craig's desire for regular first-team football at this stage of his career."

Hull KR sack Sandercock

Craig Sandercock Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Hull KR have sacked head coach Craig Sandercock with immediate effect.

The Robins announced the move on Thursday night and have put assistant Chris Chester in charge ahead of Sunday's home game against St Helens.

A statement from the club said: "The club has made the decision not to renew Craig's contract in 2015 and, with that in mind, have placed Chris Chester in charge of first-team duties initially until the end of the season whilst a full review of all off-field operations is carried out.

"The club would like to thank Craig for all his hard work over the last three years and wishes him well in the future."

Hull KR are currently outside the top eight in the First Utility Super League after winning just seven of their 19 matches so far this season.

Sandercock was appointed as the successor to fellow Australian Justin Morgan at Hull KR in October 2011 after being recruited from Newcastle IKnights, where he was assistant coach.

He was out of contract at the end of the season and was thought to be in talks over a new deal until recently.

Sandercock is the fifth coaching casualty so far this year after Salford, Bradford, Wakefield and London Broncos all made a change in the first half of the season.

Francis Cummins, the most recent departure from Bradford, is being linked with the vacancy.

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