Former St Helens ace Kyle Eastmond signs for Leeds Rhinos

Former England rugby union international Kyle Eastmond is back in Super League after joining Leeds Rhinos on a two-year deal.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 12:49 pm
Kyle Eastmond goes over to score the opening try during the Engage Super League Grand Final between Saints and Leeds Rhinos in 2009

The Oldham-born centre, full-back or stand-off played for St Helens in the 2009 Grand Final and for England in the 2009 Four Nations Series but has spent the last nine years in the 15-man code with Bath, Wasps and Leicester and played for England in 2013.

The 31-year-old Eastmond will help plug the gap created by the loss of stand-off Robert Lui and full-back Jack Walker to long-term injuries on the eve of the new season.

Eastmond said, “I am excited to be coming back to Rugby League. Just like the timing was right for me when I went to Rugby Union, I think the time is right for me to come back to League now.

"I was coached by Richard Agar when I was younger and obviously played alongside Sean Long at Saints. This move is about me playing my very best rugby and I think this environment and this group of staff and players, gives me confidence that I can do that. If I’m happy and in the right environment then that means I can play at my best and I think that is what is going to happen.”

Rhinos Head Coach Richard Agar added, “I first worked with Kyle in the England Academy in 2006 and he has always been a naturally gifted half back. He is an explosive runner and was part of a very successful St Helens squad.

"I know he will work well within our group and with our coaching team, especially Sean Long who he knows well from his days at Knowsley Road. Inevitably, there will be a period of time whilst he reacquaints himself with Rugby League after a decade in Union but I am excited to see how he develops in the coming weeks and months.”

Leeds Rhinos Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield said, “We are delighted to be able to bring Kyle Eastmond back to Rugby League. With the injury to Rob Lui, we have been keen to boost our options in the half back position and I am sure Kyle will excel in our environment.

"We have been speaking over the last week and I know he had a number of options both in England and overseas to continue his Rugby Union career. The fact he is coming back to league is great news for us and the Super League competition.”