The London Skolars have appointed Latham Tawhai as the club's first-team coach for next season.

Tawhai will be the first full-time coach at the club and one of the few full-time coaches in National League Two.

The appointment followed an exhaustive interview process that saw more than 20 candidates apply for the job. The appointment highlights the onward and upward ambitions of the Skolars who are celebrating their tenth year in existence.

Tawhai is a very experienced player, having played for Keighley, Hunslet, Rochdale, Hull KR and Doncaster over a ten-year spell.

Tawhai was a New Zealand Maori representative and also played in the New Zealand side that won the 1996 World 9s before moving to England to take up a contract with Keighley.

In New Zealand he played for the 1994 and 1995 national champions North Harbour. He has also represented his country at fastpitch softball.

Skolars' chairman Hector McNeil said: "We have spent three years in the National Leagues to date and we feel we have gathered a huge amount of information to move forward to the next level in the club's evolution.

"Hiring a full-time coach and someone of Latham's calibre is the first step to building a successful side in London. The next will be for Latham to recruit and build a squad capable of progressing up the National Leagues."

He added: "We are looking for Latham to lead the club both on and off the field, and build player pathways for the burgeoning youth programme we have developed at the club and in the north London area. We really feel that we can enter the new season with huge optimism and represent London in the professional ranks of rugby league with a new vigour."

Tawhai is just as excited about his new role. "When I first considered applying for the post I knew it would be a fantastic opportunity," he said. "Not only as a coaching position, but also to be involved with a forward-thinking club who have solid foundations in place. The Skolars' directors have a clear view of where they feel the club can go and it's really exciting.

"It's a big decision to hire a full-time coach, but as most National League coaches will tell you, it's afull-time job, especially if you want to do things properly which just exemplifies the way the Skolars want to do things.

"I am under no illusions about the challenge which lies ahead, but that makes me even more enthusiastic about the job."