WIDNES Vikings have appointed John Kear as head coach from July 1 on a contract until at least the end of 2023.

Kear won the Challenge Cup twice during his coaching career with Sheffield Eagles in 1998 and with Hull FC in 2005, and having taken charge of both England and Wales internationally.

The club website announced the news today declaring: "He has a proven record of getting the best out of players and being able to start his role from the start of July will give him a chance to get to know the squad immediately as well as planning for next season.

"The club have undertaken a thorough process to find the right candidate for the job and have decided that with John, as one of the most experienced coaches in the game, is the man to take the club forward and lead the team into an important season next year."

Kear has taken charge of over 550 games during his coaching career. This vast experience at all of Super League, Championship, League 1 and international level will hugely benefit the club going forward, as he takes charge of a largely young, ambitious Widnes side.

His first game in charge of Widnes Vikings will be the trip to Workington Town on Sunday 3 July, ahead of consecutive home games against Dewsbury Rams and Newcastle Thunder.

On being appointed as head coach, Kear said: “I’m absolutely delighted. When I left Bradford I didn’t envisage returning to the game as quickly as I have but when this opportunity presented itself, and it is a great opportunity within a great club, it was just too good not to take up.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge, hopefully finishing the season well and building for 2023.”