Pryce off to France

Saints Player Leon Pryce
Saints Player Leon Pryce

LEON Pryce is heading for sunnier climes as he embarks on what is likely to be the final chapter of a glittering and trophy-ladened career.

The mercurial stand-off revealed yesterday that he is to join French club Catalans Dragons on a three-year deal from next season.

It brings down the curtain on his time at Saints – a club he joined from Bradford Bulls, and where to date he has made 156 appearance and scored 73 tries.

Pryce, who will be 30 in October, said: “I have a wonderful time at Saints, and I will take away nothing but brilliant memories of the club and team.

“I have been part of several trophy winning sides.

“And I regard it as an honour to have played with so many great players and teams over the years.”

The former Great Britain and England international, also heaped praise on the fans, who had backed him in good and bad times.

He said: “I would like to thank them all for their support. They have been nothing but top class in my time here.

“They were extremely patient when I was out injured for most of this season, and their support when I returned will be something I will always cherish and treasure.”

Chairman Eamonn McManus said: “We wish Leon every success at his new club and in his new life.

“He has been a great servant, but at the same time we fully appreciate his decision to move on and wish him and his family all the best in the future.”

Pryce first came to prominence as a 16-year-old when he captained England Schools, before joining the Bulls Academy set up from amateur club Queensbury.

He featured in five Grand Finals for his hometown club – winning the coveted Harry Sunderland man of the match award in 2005, when Bradford defeated Leeds Rhinos 15-6.

He then crossed the Pennines to join Saints in 2006, and continued his trophy-winning ways.

In his first season, he helped Saints lift the Challenge Cup when they defeated Huddersfield 42-22 at Twickenham, and was part of the team which went on to add the Super League title to their trophy cabinet with a 26-4 success over Hull FC at Old Trafford.

Pryce was a Challenge Cup winner against in 2007, and scored in the 30-8 victory over Catalans Dragons at Wembley, where he shared the Lance Todd Trophy, awarded to the man of the match, with team-mate Paul Wellens.

He was also part of the Saints team which returned to Wembley in 2008 and defeated Hull FC 26-18 – the club’s third successive Challenge Cup final victory.

In addition, Pryce was in the winning Saints side in 2007 World Club Challenge match, when Brisbane Broncos were beaten 18-14 at Bolton.