Smith to leave Leeds

Leeds back Lee Smith will leave Headingley at the end of the season and is expected to switch to rugby union.

Smith, 22, has told the club he will not be renewing his deal which runs out in November.

The centre, full back or winger said: “I have really enjoyed my time at the Rhinos and still do.

“I feel the time is right for me to move on to a new challenge.”

Smith has been linked to a move with Wasps, despite being a product of the Leeds academy and appearing for England in last year’s World Cup.

Leeds coach Brian McClennan said: “It is Lee’s choice, of course, and I know he will give his best for the rest of the season.

“His leaving will create an opportunity for someone else next year and we will be looking at that situation.

“But everyone’s focus is now on our next game this weekend and the remainder of the season.”

Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “It is always disappointing when a player decides to leave, especially one like Lee who has come through our ranks and gone on to win international honours.

“We have a strong nucleus of players in our squad, who are committed not only to the club to be one another but we live in the age of freedom of contract and it is inevitable that some will choose to play elsewhere at some point.”

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