He made a big impact in his debut season, finishing as Crusaders’ joint top try scorer with 12 tries in 20 appearances.
The 26-year-old has signed a two-year deal with the Super League new boys, subject to receiving the necessary visa.
Commenting on the deal Hanbury said “When I first came over to this country, I was already familiar with names such as Widnes, Wigan and Warrington given their successes over the years.
“To be honest, I was surprised not to see Widnes in the Super League when I first arrived. In 2012 they will be of course and I’m excited about playing my part in their return.
“Things are definitely on the up at Widnes and I had no hesitation whatsoever in signing for the club. I was impressed with its vision and its plans for the future, plus Having Frank Winterstein, Lloyd White and Hep Cahill on board is a huge bonus too and made my decision all the easier.”
Widnes Head Coach Denis Betts stated his delight at securing Hanbury’s services “Rhys is a high quality half-back and despite the fact he’s only been over here for two years, he knows the English competition really well and knows how to control his team around a pitch, which will be invaluable for us.
“It also gives us a couple of different options in regard of how we structure our game-plan and go about our business.
“Typically, the game over here can be hard to adapt to for overseas players, so for us to have somebody in place who already fits that role and is comfy in their surroundings is great news.”