A RUGBY league legend has joined forces with local club, Bradford Salem.

Salem, who confirmed the experienced Bob Hood as their new head coach in May, have gone a step further on this occasion and appointed former Super League star, Francis Cummins as their new Rugby Development Officer.

Cummins was the head coach of Bradford Bulls from September 2012 until July 2014, while he plied his trade at the Odsal side’s dearest rivals Leeds Rhinos in an astonishing playing career – where he is firmly dubbed a legend - after amassing a total of 356 Rhinos’ appearances and 188 tries.

Salem’s Chairman of Rugby, Chris Robinson, spoke of his delight with the capture of a rugby league icon.

He said: “It’s a real coup for us to have him on board with the club, as he’s a person who has such a deep and long pedigree within the sport of rugby.

“Francis is close friends with our new head coach Bob Hood, who recommended that we met with him just by a way of introduction in the first instance. However, from then on it was pretty clear that we were dealing with an uber professional guy.

“We have been trying to appoint a Rugby Development Officer for a while now, so after a few meetings with Francis it was blatantly obvious that he was the perfect man for the role. He’ll join Bradford Salem via his own company, The Rugby School of Excellence.”

Discussing Cummins’ role as a Rugby Development Officer, Robinson said: “It’s really down to Francis in regard to how he wants to drive the strategy of it. So, it will be a part-time role and he’ll begin his own work and analysis on which areas are best to target within the community.

“Examples of the strategies Francis might use to help promote the sport are visiting schools, holding taster days and offering his experience in coaching.

“Primarily, yes, initially we will be looking for future Salem players within Bradford, however we just want to see kids in the local community playing rugby. If we can provide the platform at Bradford Salem for kids to be able to do that, and even if those kids move on to play elsewhere, we’ll be more than happy with that.

“We want to provide a platform for people to be able to play the sport, engage in the local community, particularly at school level, and then develop the links with our rugby club.”

Robinson added: “Having met Francis; seeing his drive, ambition and passion for rugby development, that meant the decision to appoint him in this role was a no brainer. He’ll now be wearing the Bradford Salem brand high and proud, and he’ll be driving that in the local community.”

Salem’s Head of Rugby, despite all of Cummins’ success in the sport, believes that the former Bulls’ head coach has all the assets to succeed at community level rugby.

Robinson said: “Francis’ pedigree is second to none and not only that, but he’s also a really, really down to earth and lovely bloke. He might have scored a world class try in a Challenge Cup final many years ago, but he’s very humble and is totally on board with what we want to achieve as a club.

“He also knows this game inside out; both codes that is, so we can’t wait to see what he brings to this role.”

Bradford Salem return to pre-season training on Thursday 29 June and Hood, the club’s new head-coach, will do a presentation to discuss his plans for the forthcoming campaign.