Raynor completes Crusaders switch

Crusaders have signed their second former Great Britain international and their third player from Hull FC in the form of experienced winger Gareth Raynor.

Raynor follows fellow Lion Jamie Thackray and youngster Tommy Lee over the Pennines into North Wales for 2010.

The 31-year old started his career in rugby union as a centre. He started out at Pontefract RUFC and later moved onto Castleford Panthers before signing for Leeds Tykes in 2000.

While at the Tykes, he was spotted by sister club Leeds Rhinos and switched codes. However with little game time at the Rhinos, he moved to Hull FC, became an instant success and has now chalked up 189 Super League appearances, scoring 101 tries.

He made his England debut against Russia in 2004, scoring a hat-trick of tries in their 98-4 European Championship win. He followed that up with a try against France the following week as England won 42-4.

He first played for Great Britain a year later against Australia under Brian Noble and Jon Sharp and alongside Iestyn Harris. He played for the Lions six times in three years, scoring three tries in the process.

Raynor began training with the side today and first team coach Jon Sharp said: “The squad is coming together nicely now. Gareth arrived today and he is fitting in very well already. We had Vince Mellars join us earlier in the week too. We’ve got a good squad here and we’re preparing well for the Leeds Rhinos game on Friday week.”

Tickets for Crusaders v Leeds Rhinos on Friday 29 January (kick-off 8pm), priced from just £7 for juniors and £15 for adults, can be purchased through the club’s ticket office on 01978 262129, by calling into the Wrexham FC club shop or by going to www.crusadersrfl.com.

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