Whitehaven have signed one of the most exciting amateur players in the country – Wath Brow stand-off Karl Dixon.

The 26-year-old has just returned from the England Lions tour of New Zealand and will join the Haven squad when they report for tonight’s first training session.

Dixon, a long-term target for Whitehaven, has signed an initial 12-month contract.

Chairman Tom Todd said: “We have tried to sign Karl on several occasions but were unsuccessful.

“Naturally, I’m delighted that we have finally landed his signature as it continues our policy of trying to recruit the very best talent in the area.”

Dixon makes the step up to the professional game from National Conference League’s minor premiers Wath Brow Hornets.

He helped the Brow top the Premier Division with 19 tries in 20 appearances, earning man of the match on four occasions.

His try tally in the division was only topped by one other player – his Hornets team-mate Curtis Teare.

Dixon, who only turned 26 two months ago, is looking forward to the challenge of professional rugby.

He said: “It will be a challenge and a tough ask in the Championship but I believe it’s the right time for me to step up and test myself.

“I’ve done everything I can in the amateur game and I’d like to thank Wath Brow and my coaches for that.

“I’m looking forward to playing for Whitehaven and can’t wait for pre-season to start.”

Head coach Gary Charlton added: “I’ve watched Karl quite a lot playing for Wath Brow and I believe he is the best player in that position in the league.

“He’s got the ability to make that step up to the Championship as he has the right attitude and skills to do well.

“Karl is a great signing for the club and the team.

“I’m delighted that he chose Whitehaven and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Dixon is the fourth new player to join the club for 2020.