sport

Chester is new Hull KR coach

Chris Chester has been named head coach at Hull KR on a permanent basis after almost two months in temporary charge.

The 35-year-old former Rovers player and assistant coach became caretaker boss following the departure of Australian Craig Sandercock on July 3 and has now signed a three-year contract.

Hull KR won just two of their six matches under the temporary guidance of Chester but that included the scalp of leaders St Helens and in their last match they held reigning champions Wigan to a draw to keep alive their Super League play-off hopes.

Rovers chief executive Mike Smith said: "It's always been the plan to bring somebody through the ranks to one day take over as head coach and Chris has started very well in the role.

"He is somebody who understands the club and the squad of players he will be working with, but more importantly he is a young British coach who is ready for this position and responsibility.

"He's learnt his trade and he's very well respected within the game. The board had no hesitation in backing him with a three-year deal and I'm sure the fans will now join us in giving him their full support for the rest of this season and beyond."

Chester, who is nine months older than the youngest Super League coach, Wakefield's James Webster, joined Hull KR's backroom staff in 2008 after retiring as a player, working as assistant to both Sandercock and his predecessor Justin Morgan.

"I'm absolutely delighted," Chester said. "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.

"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.

"The squad is coming together for next season - we've signed some exciting outside backs and we've hopefully got some more signings to be announced – but we're still very much focused on our goals this year.

"There's six points up for grabs and we've got to make sure we finish the season strongly and as high up that ladder as we possibly can.

"Moving forwards, I think we're better than just fighting for that eighth spot. We've struggled consistency wise this season and that's something that as coaches and players we have to address."

Chester's first match in his confirmed role will be Friday's derby against Hull FC, one of his former clubs, at the KC Stadium.