Winter Olympic hopeful signs for Oxford

Date published: Friday, December 7, 2012

Oxford, one of three new clubs in Championship One next season, have signed British Bobsleigh team member Andrew Hoggins, who hopes to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The 24-year old centre or loose forward joins Oxford from Southampton Spitfires and is relishing the prospect of testing himself at a higher level of Rugby League.

He said: “I was offered a contract by North Wales Crusaders for 2012 but it wasn’t feasible for me to sign. However, I was itching to play in Championship One so I was excited to hear that Oxford were introducing a side in 2013.

“I hope to make the 17 regularly as well as playing international fixtures for Germany.”

Oxford coach Tony Benson has also signed, from Southampton Spitfires, English Lions winger or centre Oliver Johnson.

Johnson, who recently toured Canada with the amateur international side, scoring a try hat-trick against the Canadians in Toronto, is delighted at securing the move.

Oxford make their first visit to Whitebank, with a clutch of former Roughyeds players in their ranks, for what should be a compelling Championship One clash on Sunday, April 28 in Oldham’s second home league game.

A fortnight before that Scott Naylor’s new-look outfit travel to the West Country to take on another of the new clubs, Gloucester All Golds.

Gloucester’s announcement that New Zealander Brad Hepi will be their head coach means that all three of the new clubs will have a boss from overseas

Hepi will be remembered by rugby league fans as the Kiwi tough guy who played for Hull, Castleford and Salford and who won 12 caps with the NZ Maoris.

With his fellow New Zealander and former Oldham boss Benson at Oxford and Australian Troy Perkins, the former NRL player with St George and Penrith, in charge at Hemel Stags the trio of new clubs will lack nothing in Antipodean influence.

Perkins played in the same Australian Schoolboys side as Brett Kimmorley, the half-back who went on to represent his country at the highest level in Test football.