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Keighley Cougars are not squeamish about Squamish link
Cougars player-coach Paul March has spoken of his delight after the club formed a ground-breaking partnership with Canadian outfit Sea To Sky Eagles.
Based in Squamish, British Columbia, the Eagles play in the fledgling British Columbia Rugby Football League Competition, which for 2013 will see seven teams compete for the title.
Former Cougars Academy coach Keith Reeves will spend six months a year with the Eagles, an opportunity that arose after a chance meeting with a club official while on a holiday to visit daughter Kate, who lives in Squamish.
March said: “I’m looking forward to working closely with Keith on what is a first for rugby league.
“It’s a great idea that suits both clubs and we can see it developing further over the coming months, bringing some really fantastic opportunities for young players at both clubs.”
Reeves added: “The partnership will see me work closely with Paul, sharing coaching structures, drills and experience.
“The Cougars are playing much more to a Super League-playing style since I was at the club and I’m sure I will learn much from him.
“Even though the game is still establishing itself in Canada, the playing standard is excellent. The teams are well financed with good facilities, though we still have some hurdles to overcome - for example we have a lack of qualified match officials.
“We ‘re hoping as part of the partnership to see talented young players from both clubs having the opportunity to benefit from the link-up.
“I have already in mind several young players from the Eagles who could make an impression certainly at under-20 level with the Cougars for a season.
“And I’m sure there is some of the emerging talent at Cougar Park that would gain a lot from a season in Canada, where we can offer both playing experience and employment.”