THE University of Gloucestershire have appointed two top names from rugby league to join their student coaching staff ahead of the new season writes James Crawley.
Former Super League and international forward Brad Hepi and Championship player and community coach Joe McKenna will lead the student squad through their 2012-13 Super 6 campaign.
Hepi joined the professional ranks of rugby league in the 1980s in a career that has seen him play for Hull FC, Castleford Tigers, Salford City Reds, Australian NRL sides Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra Dragons, as well as featuring 12 times for the New Zealand Maori rugby league team.
He is the current head backs coach of the England Colleges and has been head coach with Hull FC Academy.
Hepi said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me, as the coach, to develop the guys here at the university in not only their own game and skills but also help to raise the profile of the University of Gloucestershire simultaneously.
"It is a local winning team that we hope to produce here at the University of Gloucestershire All Golds."
McKenna will also bring his own wealth of experience to the university.
His professional playing experience spanned three years with Championship One side Barrow Raiders and he also featured in the Championship One grand final for Workington Town against Keighley Cougars in 2011.
McKenna has worked as a community coach for Workington Town and has extensive experience in supporting youth player development.
He said: "I am greatly excited to be working with such a special group of players and coaches, all of whom are extremely professional in their approach towards improving themselves individually and also as part of the team.
"This has been a welcome change and has presented myself with a fantastic opportunity to progress on my own coaching pathway."
The University of Gloucestershire student side will play their first home game next Wednesday at the Prince of Wales Stadium in Cheltenham.