Kruise Leeming still in England thoughts despite uncertainty over his future

James Gordon
Kruise Leeming

Photo by James Heaton/News Images

England coach Shaun Wane says Kruise Leeming is in his thoughts for the mid-season international against France, despite currently being out of action.

Leeming, 27, has now officially been released by Leeds, coach Rohan Smith confirmed in his weekly press conference.

The former Huddersfield hooker played in Leeds’ first three games of the Super League season, the last of which was the dramatic 25-24 win away at St Helens.

But that turned out to be his last outing for the Rhinos, who he joined at the start of the 2020 season and was captain in 2022.

His next destination remains unclear, with the Swaziland-born star linked with a move to the NRL.

That would likely rule him out of the mid-season test at the Halliwell Jones Stadium at the end of April, but he would remain a contender for the number nine shirt for the slated autumn test series against Tonga in the UK.

Leeming was perhaps a surprising omission from Wane’s World Cup at the end of last season.

Wane opted instead to select Catalans hooker Michael McIlorum, who he coached at Wigan, and in-form Salford dummy half Andy Ackers.

That meant no spot for Leeming, who still only has the one solitary England appearance – as a substitute in the 30-10 win over France in October 2021.

He has, however, played against England twice for the Combined Nations All Stars in 2021 and 2022.

When discussing who might play in the spring international, Wane was asked about Leeds centre Harry Newman and referenced Leeming.

Wane said: “I like him (Newman), I rate him and I see him as a future England player. He’ll have a chance (of playing against France). I like him, he’s a good player and I like Ash Handley, I like Kruise and many players from Leeds.”

Where will Kruise Leeming end up?

Now his Leeds release has been rubber-stamped, Leeming is free to sign elsewhere.

There hasn’t been a great deal of talk about him remaining in Super League, although Wakefield coach Mark Applegarth stated that most would be interested in securing his services.

Wakefield have been short at hooker due to an injury to Liam Hood.

Sky Sports presenter Brian Carney linked Leeming with North Queensland Cowboys, though that report was soon shot down by the NRL club.

The most likely NRL destination appears to be Gold Coast Titans, as reported by Leeds Live, albeit on a deal until the end of the season.

It is thought that there may be increased interest from Super League clubs in taking Leeming from 2024, if he isn’t able to persuade a club Down Under to take him beyond 2023.

If Leeming does head to Gold Coast, he will link up with former St Helens coach Justin Holbrook to cover for their injured hooker Sam Verrills.

As for Leeds, Jarrod O’Connor will continue his growth in to the starting number nine jersey, while James Bentley has filled in at dummy half in recent weeks.

Youngster Corey Johnson is tipped to make a breakthrough too, having spent some time on dual-registration with Bradford in Championship.

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