Written by Rugby Football League
Leeds Rhinos have signed dual-code International Kyle Eastmond on a two-year deal as he returns to Rugby League after spending a decade in Rugby Union.
Eastmond debuted for St Helens in 2007 before becoming a regular in the Saints side alongside Leeds Rhinos Assistant Coach Sean Long in the halves.
The Oldham-born halfback scored of all his sides points in the 2009 Super League Grand Final against the Rhinos and went on to earn four England caps, including in the Four Nations.
Eastmond would switch codes signing with Bath for whom he appeared on 72 occasions before going on to represent Wasps and, more recently, Leicester Tigers. Eastmond earned six England caps in Rugby Union between 2013 and 2014, with three coming against the All Blacks.
On the move, 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 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.”
New signing Kyle Eastmond says he is excited about the challenge of joining Leeds Rhinos and his return to Rugby League.
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) March 3, 2021
Leeds 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 halfback.
“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.”
Director of Rugby at Leeds Rhinos, Kevin Sinfield, commented: “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 halfback 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 in both 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.”