PAKISTAN international rugby player Danyail Ahmed has joined Keighley Albion's open age squad ahead of the 2021 season, in an exciting swoop for the club.

Ahmed has previously played for Ilkley RUFC, where having joined as a junior, he progressed through age grade rugby to senior level. He has also represented Ilkley Grammar School and the University of Bradford.

Through strong performances at club level, Ahmed would earn representative honours for both West Yorkshire and Yorkshire at county level - however his biggest career accomplishments have come in the form of full international honours.

Ahmed was selected to play for the Pakistan U19 and U20 teams in Junior World Cup Qualifying matches, before earning senior caps for the Pakistani national team in 2015 during the Asian Five Nations Championship.

Qualifying matches included opponents in the shape of India, Uzbekistan and Lebanon.

Ahmed has an all-round skill set, with a well-balanced range of key attributes such as speed, strength, fitness, tackling and handling.

This saw him primarily feature in the back row positions of blind/openside flanker and number 8 for Ilkley.

However more recently he has featured in the centre positions, where his strong running, speed and footwork causes a major threat to opposing teams.

On Ahmed's signing, open age coach and club committee member Rob Spencer said: “Danyail is a quality acquisition and we are excited to welcome him to the club for 2021.

“Bringing experience of county level rugby representation and full international caps to the squad is fantastic, and he possesses a number of key attributes from his union career which will see him transition quickly into the league code.

“We are delighted with how the squad is building, with some top class additions and retentions.

“We are all champing at the bit for the green light to get our training underway and to hit the ground running for a strong, competitive season.”

Keighley Albion is one of the leading grassroots sports clubs in the district for engaging the participation of BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) communities.

Famously, Saima Hussain (recognised as the UK's first Asian female rugby league player) played for the Albion Ladies between 1998 and 2019.

Currently, the Junior (U6-U18s) and Antz (three to five year olds) sections boast a number of BAME players - including talented youngster Hamza Butt, who is currently playing a year group up from his true age with the club's U15s.

It is hoped that Ahmed’s signing will inspire even more members of Keighley’s BAME community to give rugby league a try with Albion.

The club are currently welcoming more players to the open age squad.

The first team, with support from the town's professional side Keighley Cougars and led by a highly experienced coaching team, is set to be highly competitive, suiting aspiring and motivated players who are looking to play for successful side.

However if you are less experienced, or are wanting to play recreational rugby league, then Albion hope to raise enough numbers to run a second team, which would develop junior players, maintain fitness for fringe members of the first team, and support players who are looking for a more social level of rugby.

For more information, please contact the club's Facebook page, or register directly via this link: