Hunslet sign Scotland international forward Joe McClean - former rugby union man has played for Gloucestershire All Golds and West Wales Raiders

New signing Joe McClean will be doing the hard yards for Hunslet this year - travelling to training and matches from his home in the south west.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 9:25 am
Joe McClean. Picture c/o Hunslet RLFC.

The Scotland international prop or second-rower has put pen to paper on a one-year contract, despite living 170 miles away in Gloucestershire.

McClean, 31, played junior rugby at Devizes Rugby Union Club before changing codes at Bath University.

He was with Betfred League One club West Wales Raiders last year, but asked Hunslet coach Gary Thornton for an opportunity and was signed after impressing in training.

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McClean is a former Gloucestershire All Golds team-mate of Hunslet forward Harry Kidd and will help replace Jack Aldous who is unavailable this season because of work commitments in his home city of Hull.

McClean said: “Harry Kidd was a big reason behind me being attracted to Hunslet.

"We’re very close from our time at the All Golds and he spoke very highly of the club and of the ambitions everyone has here.

"If I’ve got a couple of seasons left in me then I want to be at an outfit where I’ll have a chance to win something.

"I don’t want to spend my time at a club that may be closer to my home in Cheltenham, but which doesn’t perhaps have quite the same potential.”

McClean admitted: “It’s a long way to training and back and for matches, when they resume, but it’ll be made a lot easier by the spirit in the camp at the South Leeds Stadium.

"The players, the coaches, the back room staff and the board have all been very welcoming. I really get the feeling that this is a club that is going places."

Of what he will bring to the side, he said: “I can get teams on the front foot and give the backs a platform from which they can operate.

"My first goal is to book a berth in the side and, from there, play well enough to help us win League One or at least gain promotion.

"At the same time I plan to catch the eyes of the Scottish selectors ahead of this autumn's World Cup.

"I’ve played in five or six of Scotland’s games in recent years and although I missed out on the World Cup in Australia in 2019 I played in our last match, our victory in the World Cup qualifier against Greece in London in November ,2019.

"And the fact that I’ve been picked consistently, even when I was with West Wales Raiders, who were struggling, leads me to think I’m very much in Scotland’s plans.”

Thornton described McClean as "a versatile forward who is equally comfortable in the back-row or front-row".

He said: "He came through the All Golds development setup with Harry Kidd and always impressed me as one of their top performers during their short stint in League One.

"Since then he has gained further experience playing down in West Wales.

"He contacted me about joining a northern-based club to enhance his chances of making the Scotland World Cup squad, having been in and around mostly development clubs based in the south.

“He has shown terrific dedication to organise his work commitments to allow him to travel up for training and games when the season starts and has impressed all the coaching staff.

"With his skill levels and athleticism he will be a great addition to our group.”

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