KEIGHLEY Cougars have announced a unique partnership with the Canadian Rugby League Association.

The link-up will see members of the national side – the Canada Wolverines – travel to England to train with Cougars following the completion of the Canadian domestic season.

Cougars Reserves have also been invited to Canada for a two-match tour at the back end of the 2019 season.

Canadian Rugby League Association board member Darren Mabbott said the partnership should further boost the sport's profile in his country following the rise of Toronto Wolfpack.

He said: "The overall aim for the partnership is more publicity for the Canadian game and the Cougars – to form a working partnership for players in the Canadian domestic game and have some of them come to the UK and train with Keighley.

"Maybe we'll unearth the next Jason Demetriou (former Cougars head coach and Canadian international).

"We want to move into the top 10 sides in the world and the partnership with Keighley will help us achieve that goal."

Mabbott has been a Cougars fan for 30 years and explained the club's history as pioneers of the Super League era was a reason why they were ideal partners.

He said: "Because of the early 90s during the height of Cougarmania, people in rugby league still have a soft spot for Keighley and the game wouldn't be what it is today without the Cougars.

"The level of popularity the club still has means this partnership can only go from strength to strength."

The association – who will sponsor Cougars coach Craig Lingard this year – are also preparing for the 2025 Rugby League World Cup following last year's announcement that the Maple Leaf nation will joint-host the tournament with the USA.

Mabbott said: "The 2025 World Cup is a major event for Canada and the United States as they are not traditional rugby league nations. The profile and standard of the game in both countries will increase as it will provide valuable for experience for everyone involved to test themselves against the top nations such as Australia, England and New Zealand."

Rugby League is an expanding sport in Canada, with Toronto Wolfpack averaging crowds of over 7,000 in their debut season which saw them crowned League One champions.

The Canadian Ravens (women's national team) were bronze medal finalists at the last Commonwealth Games and reached the semi-finals of last autumn's World Cup where they were defeated by winners Australia.

The Canadian domestic competition is growing on the back of this success with 16 teams across three regions competing in the forthcoming season.

Mabbott added: "Cougars faced the Toronto Wolfpack last year and they have taken rugby league in Canada up to a completely different level.

"It's not just hot now in Canada but in the United States also.

"Outside of the Wolfpack, there's 12 teams across Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia in the domestic competition but this link with Keighley will hopefully make the domestic game stronger."