Canadian international Ruairi McGoff has joined Whitehaven after getting the taste back for the game with his local side Ulverston.

McGoff, who is 34 today, will be linking-up with Haven’s new coach Gary Charlton who was in charge at Workington Town when he played there in 2010/11.

As a 16-year-old McGoff played for his local team Ulverston, starting on the bench and coming on as a winger. But the coach soon realised that the youngster could handle himself and he was moved into the prop position.

He was playing in the North West Premier League, where he was spotted by Barrow Raiders. He moved on loan to Workington in 2010 and signed for them permanently for the 2011 season.

Eventually he returned to Barrow after earning his first Canadian cap against South Africa. It’s that involvement with Canada and Ulverston, which sparked his return after several years out.

He has agreed a one-year deal with Whitehaven after being involved in the Canadian build-up for the 2021 RL World Cup.

Speaking about coming back to the pro game, McGoff said: “Ulverston did really well last year and they’re moving forward again now, so it was them who really kick-started it for me.

“I’d finished playing at Barrow and I had a little boy to concentrate on, as well as having an operation on my elbow. But personal circumstances change and a couple of boys gave me a nudge to go back down to Ulverston and I really enjoyed it. We were playing really well and winning, and they’re a good set of lads.

“That set me in good stead, and then Canada got in touch with their new coaching set-up and asked if I’d be interested again. I owe Ulverston quite a lot for getting me going again.

“It’s been a bit of a chain of events because I’d gone from three Grand Finals with three different clubs, then I signed for Barrow and things changed there.

“I wasn’t playing too much, and with my job and my kid I kind of took a step back from it. It was good to potentially finish on a high playing international rugby, but for Whitehaven to come in and speak to me, it’s good to finally have that opportunity to hopefully finish on a high.”

Haven boss Gary Charlton said: “He’s got a great attitude, great work ethic and although he may not be the most skilful player he has the heart of a lion.

“I know what he brings to the team so he will be a great asset because he’s infectious. I watched him play for Canada and his highlight reel was very good.

“He took in a lot of ball and he tackled well. It’s something we look for as the prop forwards are the unsung heroes.”