Leeds boss Richard Agar backs Kyle Eastmond to shine in rugby league again


Photo courtesy of Leeds Rhinos

Leeds coach Richard Agar says it is only a matter of time before Kyle Eastmond becomes a major presence in rugby league again. 

The 31-year-old half-back has returned to rugby league with Leeds on a two-year contract after almost a decade in rugby union.

Eastmond was one of the hottest prospects in league before his move to the 15-man code in 2011, having scored 433 points in 74 games for St Helens.

Agar believes Eastmond can shine in rugby league again this season with the Rhinos and make his mark on Super League.

He said: “Kyle’s skill set as a rugby player is a phenomenal one and we feel he’s actually sharpened it up in rugby union. I feel that could be a benefit to us.

“As someone who has faced the All Blacks in Auckland, he’s never been frightened of taking a challenge on and this is a challenge.

“We think he’s got the ability to light up what is already a terrific place to play on a Friday night.

“Inevitably, there will be a period of time whilst he reacquaints himself with rugby league after a decade in union but we’re really confident that it’s a matter of time, and not if, that he becomes a major presence in the sport again.”

READ: Kyle Eastmond: This is perfect time and place for me to come back

Because he has not played rugby league for five years, only half of Eastmond’s wage will count towards the Rhinos’ salary cap in the first year, rising to 75% in his second season.

Eastmond will help plug the gap created by the loss of stand-off Robert Lui, as well as full-back Jack Walker, to long-term injuries on the eve of the new season but insisted he was not going to be a stop-gap signing.

Agar explained: “We initially talked about coming and playing this season and seeing how it went, but within a day he came back to us and said ‘I’m in and I want to commit for longer’.

“That was a massive selling point for us. It would have been easier and probably more lucrative for Kyle to stay in union.”

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