Leeds confirm signing of rising star Callum McLelland

Drew Darbyshire

Scottish Rugby Union starlet Callum McLelland has joined Leeds on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

The 18-year-old is a product of Castleford Tigers’ Academy, but joined Edinburgh Rugby Union last year. He qualified to play for Scotland due to his grandfather being born in East Ayrshire and he played eight times for Scotland Under-20s.

McLelland has now returned to the 13-aside code, with the Rhinos having agreed an undisclosed fee with Scottish Rugby for the youngster.

On signing for Leeds, McLelland said: “It is great to be joining a club like Leeds Rhinos and I am very excited about my future here.

“I have enjoyed my opportunity in Rugby Union and would like to thank Richard Cockerill, all the coaches and players at Edinburgh and with Scotland Under-20s who worked with me over the past year.

“The chance to come home to West Yorkshire and be part of something special here at the Rhinos was something that was very attractive to me. When you look around the stadium and speak to Kevin Sinfield about the plans for the team moving forward, I knew it was the right move for me.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity of working with Rob Burrow as well. Rob was my hero growing up and I know there is so much I can learn from all the coaches here at the Rhinos.”

Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield is pleased to have secured the services of McLelland.

He said: “We are delighted to have signed Callum.

“He was a huge loss to our sport when he left and it is great to welcome back. He is an outstanding talent and, in his age group, he is up there with the very best. There were a host of clubs who were chasing his signature and it is brilliant news for Leeds Rhinos that he has agreed to join us.

“It was important that we created some competition in our half-backs. Callum has a great football brain and he will complement what we have for next year in Richie Myler and Tui Lolohea, that internal competition is something I have been keen to improve since I returned; they will drive each other on and the two that get the shirts will do their best for us on any given week.

“I am expecting big things from him throughout his time at the Rhinos and he has the talent to be here for a long time.”

McLelland has already linked up with his new team-mates but is not eligible for the Rhinos this season, with the transfer deadline for this season having passed.