KYLE Eastmond ended weeks of speculation yesterday by announcing he was leaving Saints to join Aviva Premiership outfit Bath.
But the 21-year-old scrum-half insisted that he would be totally committed to Saints for the remainder of Super League, and determined to play a major role in bringing home more silverware.
Eastmond, left, who joined Saints as a youngster 10 years ago, said: “It was the most difficult decision of my career so far, and hopefully I have made the right choice.
“St Helens have been fantastic with me since I arrived as a starry-eyed 11-year-old, and I will always be indebted to them for their amazing support.
“The fans, too, have also been great to me, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Eastmond will switch codes when his existing contract expires at the end of the current campaign, but I understand from reliable sources that Saints are already seeking a ready-made replacement.
Coach Royce Simmons broke the news of Eastmond’s imminent departure on Monday night.
Simmons said: “Kyle has decided to move to Bath – the players sat around and we talked about it.
“The players shook hands and congratulated him on his decision – he had come clean and revealed what he was doing.”
The head coach added: “It has been weighing on the young man’s mind and now we’ve got that out of the way, we can carry on.”
Bath skills’ coach Brad Davis said: “Our record is good with converts. We can provide Kyle with a platform from which he can not only have a magnificent domestic career, but push on to international honours as well.”
Oldham-born Eastmond, who has signed a three-year deal with the west country club, made his Saints’ senior debut against Salford City Reds in June 2007 and to date has made 60 appearances, scoring 35 tries, 133 goals and three drop-goals.