KEIGHLEY Cougars have confirmed the appointment of Rhys Lovegrove as head coach until the end of the 2020 season.

The former Bradford Bulls player, aged 32, takes the top job at Cougar Park on a permanent basis after overseeing first team matters alongside Paul Royston since the end of May following the sacking of Craig Lingard.

As a part of the new coaching structure at Keighley, Lovegrove will work alongside new director of coaching Phil Larder.

The remainder of the rugby management team will see Gary Moorby and Paul Moses as head of first team and reserves rugby, and see Scott Lindsey serve as assistant coach to Lovegrove.

Dean Muir and Liam Bowness continue as head coach and assistant of the club’s reserve grade, with Royston returning to his role as head of strength and conditioning.

As a player, the former Australian schoolboy international Lovegrove began his professional career with St George-Illawarra Dragons before arriving in the United Kingdom in 2007 to play for Hull KR.

After nearly a decade at Craven Park, Lovegrove had spells with the London Broncos and Bulls before switching codes and finishing his playing career with Wharfedale Rugby Union, where he was forced to retire from playing following a series of concussions.

He also represented Scotland on the international stage, who he qualifies for through his mother, representing the Bravehearts in the 2008 and 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

Lovegrove’s coaching career began with Doncaster where he was strength and conditioning coach but he did have a successful caretaker spell alongside Pete Green in which time the South Yorkshire side went on a five-game winning streak.

Lovegrove then joined the Cougars in January as assistant coach before stepping up last month.

He said: “I’m happy to be appointed as Head Coach of Keighley Cougars.

“This is a grand old lady of Rugby League with lots of history and a superb fan base.

“I’m looking forward to taking this great club forward and building towards the future.”

Chairman Mick O’Neill added: “We are very pleased to appoint Rhys as head coach of the Keighley Cougars.

“Rhys is a talented young coach and we are really excited with what he brings to the club and everyone in the club likes Rhys.

“We understand that taking the top job at a young age that there can be a lot of pressure on him which is why it is important to have Phil Larder working alongside him and we wish him all the success in the world.

“And for me personally, it’s good to have an Aussie around. It will keep me sane!”