Back-rower Richard Jones (pictured) has become the first professional signing for the University of Gloucestershire All Golds.

The tough-tackling former Cougars ace is studying for a Masters degree in physical activity and health at the university and is set to feature for the Championship One newcomers next season.

Jones, who was part of Cougars’ promotion-winning season from the third tier in 2011, said: “Securing the bid for Championship One is a huge achievement for the club and it’s an even larger success for the Gloucestershire community, being such a rugby-orientated area.

“The link between the All Golds club and the university acting as their backbone is unique.

“It means that all the foundations are already in place. It also gives the chance for players, such as me, to further their studies at the university while playing top-level rugby league.

“Signing here was a big decision for me and has meant a permanent move down to Gloucester with my fiancée, Amy.

“It’s going to be a very exciting year both on and off the pitch.”

Jones recently made his first appearance for the University All Golds BUCS team in the Super 6 University League, scoring his first try for the team in their opening-day victory at Hull.

All Golds’ board member Lionel Hurst explained how the signing of Jones on Monday also had a historical significance.

He said: “It was on this date – Tuesday, November 5, 1907 – that Keighley almost became the first British rugby club to defeat the touring New Zealand All Golds when they went down by 9-7 in a mighty clash at a packed venue.

“The All Golds are of course named in honour of the famous New Zealand All Golds side which gained Test match glory when overcoming Great Britain 8-5 in Cheltenham in early 1908.

“The Keighley players of those early days were known as the hard men of Yorkshire football. A White Rose man himself, Richard follows in this tradition and we’re delighted to have him on board.”