Exclusive: Leeds Rhinos offer trial to rugby union forward who has played for Harlequins, Bath

Aaron Bower
Lewis Boyce Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Former Bath forward Lewis Boyce has been offered a trial by rugby league giants Leeds Rhinos - Alamy

Leeds Rhinos have invited former Harlequins and Bath forward Lewis Boyce into the early stages of their pre-season training on trial, Love Rugby League has learned.

The first batch of Rhinos players returned to training last week following the off-season break, with the likes of Harry Newman – who featured in England’s recent Test series against Tonga – and new signings such as Lachie Miller due to report to their Kirkstall base in the weeks ahead.

But Love Rugby League has been told there is a surprise face in Leeds’ training camp, with Boyce invited in by Rohan Smith to trial with the Rhinos in the early stages of pre-season.

Boyce is no stranger to the area, having been educated in Otley before beginning his sporting career in the city, too.

The 27-year-old has spent his entire professional career in union.

He began his career in Leeds with Yorkshire Carnegie, before he was signed by Harlequins in 2017.

It was at Harlequins where he earned a first call-up to the England squad for the Six Nations, though he failed to make his international debut. He has, however, six caps for England’s Under-20s.

Boyce then moved to Bath in 2019 before most recently featuring in the Championship for Ealing Trailfinders.

However, he has now been handed an opportunity to impress in league with the Rhinos, after joining on what is understood to be a two-week trial.

Former Harlequins and Bath forward Lewis Boyce handed opportunity with Super League giants Leeds Rhinos

Love Rugby League has been told no discussions have taken place over the possibility of a deal, with both parties using the trial as an exploratory opportunity to see how Boyce adjusts to league.

But the forward is in with Leeds’ squad for the opening stages of their pre-season preparations as he aims to secure a longer term opportunity.

A deal is still a long way from even becoming a reality but if it were to happen, Leeds would be able to take advantage of a loophole in the salary cap to ensure Boyce’s value on the cap was essentially nil in his first year at the club.

The new talent pool dispensation allows any player who has not previously played rugby league to be given a value of £0 in the first year of his contract, and at 50 per cent of his true value in the second year.

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