Fresh challenge sought by Wood offered by Featherstone

Featherstone Rovers head coach Andy Hay says the surprise signing of ex-England prop Paul Wood from Warrington Wolves will bring “aggression” to his side as they strive to achieve promotion to Super League.

SWITCH: Featherstone Rovers' new signing, Paul Wood, in action for Warrington.

Wood’s capture on a two-year deal came out of the blue yesterday but further illustrated that the West Yorkshire club are intent on making a serious push to reach the elite level for a first time in 2015.

He won the Challenge Cup twice with Warrington and is renowned as being one of Super League’s toughest players, moreso after his famous escapades in the 2012 Grand Final.

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Wood, who could debut in Sunday’s friendly at Wakefield Trinity, ruptured a testicle in Warrington’s Old Trafford defeat against Leeds Rhinos but played on for another 20 minutes before departing and did not even mention the injury until later that evening.

He then needed surgery to have it removed but made a full recovery and went on to amass 339 appearances for the Wolves, scoring an impressive 50 tries considering his postion.

However, the rangy 33-year-old found opportunities scarce last term and the Cheshire club has now accepted his request to be released from the remainder of his contract.

Hay said: “Paul is an experienced forward who will bring aggression to our pack.

“He was looking for a fresh challenge and was impressed with the ambition that we are showing on and off the pitch at the club.

“He appreciates what we are trying to achieve at Featherstone and is eager to be involved and play a vital contribution to our future. He’s a tough player who does not take a backward step and has a very good off-load in his game.

“I think we will complement our other forwards and be a real asset for us in what will be a highly competitive Championship.”

Wood, who won two England caps against France and New Zealand in 2005, was restricted to just nine Super League appearances last season but did feature twice on dual-registration for Swinton Lions so has had a taste of the Championship.

“I had a number of options to remain in Super League or to move into the Championship but when I came over to Featherstone there was a good feel about the place which was amplified when speaking with Andy Hay and chairman Mark Campbell.”