KEIGHLEY Cougars have signed Scotland international forward Sonny Esslemont from Hull Kingston Rovers.

The young second-rower, who can also play in the front row, is joining the club after being released by the Super League club.

Esslemont said: “I was obviously aware of the club after what happened with Danny Jones and then Josh Guzdek (Sonny’s former Hull KR teammate) came to Keighley on loan.

“I spoke with Guzzy and he spoke really highly of the place and was really enjoying his time with Keighley.

“He also told me how good a coach that Paul March is because this is a club that is wanting to go places and push on.

“I spoke with Paul and he sold the club and spoke really highly too because he wants to push on in League One next season and to be honest, they were unlucky to miss out on promotion to the Championship this time.”

Hull-born boyhood Rovers fan doesn’t make the drop down into League One as a novice to the division, having spent the majority of the past two seasons with Newcastle Thunder on dual-registration.

He said: “I know from playing there myself that the fan base at Keighley is very passionate.

“Being at Newcastle for the past two years definitely puts me at an advantage coming here but I know how tough a league it is.

“There is a big gap between the top four or five sides in the division and the rest and hopefully the Cougars can keep moving forward and stay as one of those top sides.”

But, before joining up with his new side for pre-season ahead of 2016, Esslemont will compete with the Scotland national side in the European Championships.

He said: “I played for Scotland last year and it did play a big part in my development as a player because it prepared me for Super League and when I got back to KR, I played a few games before heading back out to Newcastle.”