Hull FC and Hull KR to merge youth academies next year

Hull FC and Hull KR
Hull FC and Hull KR have met three times this season, with the Robins winning twice and the Black and Whites once

Hull FC and Hull KR are set to merge their youth academies in 2016.

The Super League sides have not yet decided on a name for the new academy.

Which club the players join when they have progressed through the system will be decided by a draft.

"I'm sure this decision will divide opinion but I am confident that when supporters find out more about the joint academy, they will understand the reasons why we have made this move," Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell said.

"It is in no way, shape or form a precursor to a full merger between the clubs.

"We have always been outspoken about the pride, passion, history and rivalry that exists between the two sides and that will never change. I'm a fifth-generation Rovers fan and I cannot ever see the day when there is only one rugby league club in Hull.

"I'm sure everybody else feels the same way and it's certainly not going to happen on my watch. That rivalry will be maintained at senior level and it will be a case of business as usual for the first team."

The Robins are currently eighth in Super League and will face Warrington in the Challenge Cup semi-final later this month.

Lee Radford's Hull FC side are ninth in the table, two points behind their cross-city rivals with four games remaining until the league splits the top eight from the bottom four.

Black and Whites owner Adam Pearson said: "We are extremely proud of our academy set-up, its current RFL status of 'outstanding' and the legacy it has created down the years, but we have to recognise when the time is right for development and growth.

"We often shout about Hull as a hotbed of rugby league talent, a founding home for the sport, but the harsh reality is that the talent pool is smaller than it once was."