FORMER Premiership three- quarter Guy Hope is returning to his roots to become Pocklington RUFC's new club coach for the coming season.

Hope will also play for the 1st XV, but will be involved in coaching wth all levels of the club, including the junior section.

And he will be part of an expanded senior coaching team with former scrum-half Ed Townend, who is currently finishing off his coaching qualification, also stepping up to become assistant coach.

He will link up with the experienced duo of Adam Lakin and Tim Clappison, who steered Pocklington to the Yorkshire Three title last season.

Hope started as a mini-rugby player at Pocklington and graduated through the junior ranks, playing for various Yorkshire age group sides along the way. He had two seasons in Pocklington 1st XV as a teenager, before jumping straight into Premiership rugby with Orrell in 1997. He also had a spell with Otley before returning to East Yorkshire to play for Hull Ionians for the past two seasons.

But during his time with other clubs he still maintained close links with Percy Road, playing in invitation games or on tour, taking guest coaching sessions, and being involved with the juniors and with local schools.

Pocklington will be his first job as a head club coach, but he has extensive experience coaching junior and representative sides - first as Otley's academy director, and more recently as an East Yorkshire rugby development officer.

He took his first official training session in charge this week and said: "It's great to be back, though in some ways it feels like I've never been away.

"It also seems a good time to be getting more involved at Pocklington and try and build on last year's success - the players know it will be a big step up, but they seem to have a real buzz for the coming season."

Training sessions are continuing every Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm and all current, past and prospective players are welcome.

Updated: 12:12 Friday, July 16, 2004