Wigan Warriors youngster makes permanent League 1 move: ‘He’s come from a top system’

Drew Darbyshire
Stadiwm CSM, North Wales Crusaders

Stadiwm CSM, the home of North Wales Crusaders - Alamy

League 1 club North Wales Crusaders have signed Wigan Warriors academy product Reece Bushell on a one-year contract for the 2024 campaign.

The 20-year-old hooker featured for Wigan‘s reserves last season, forming part of the squad that went on to win the Reserves Grand Final.

Bushell was snapped up by the Warriors in 2018 after playing his junior rugby for Wigan St Cuthberts and Ince Rose Bridge. He now departs his hometown club to make a permanent switch to North Wales, where he will link up with Carl Forster‘s side.

On signing Bushell, Crusaders head coach Forster said: “Reece is a young lad who’s keen to learn and develop. We can already see the difference in player from day one of pre-season to now.

“He’s come from a top system, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Wigan Warriors academy product Reece Bushell ‘buzzing’ to join North Wales Crusaders

Bushell said he is ‘grateful’ to be joining Crusaders for the upcoming League 1 campaign, and ‘can’t wait’ to show the club’s supporters what he is capable of.

The youngster added: “You’ve got to take a step back before you can step forward, and I’m grateful to Carl Forster and Stuart Simmons (assistant coach) for giving me this opportunity to join North Wales Crusaders.

“I am buzzing to have signed at North Wales Crusaders, I believe the fans are loud and proud, and I can’t wait to get started to show them what I can do this year and hopefully stay at the club for seasons to come.”

Crusaders coach Carl Forster confirms captains for 2024

Forster has handed the captaincy to Chris Barratt for the 2024 campaign, with ex-Swinton Lions man Owain Abel taking on the role as vice-captain.

The Welsh outfit’s chief said: “Chris was the standout and obvious choice for me as captain. He leads by example on the field and also off it. When he speaks, everyone stops and listens.

“He knows what the club is about and what direction we want to go in. For me, he is what you want in a captain.

Owain will be great help to Chris and the team. He’s loud and never shuts up on the field and also off it. His energy is infectious within the group, and he always leads with his actions in training and on gameday.

“He shows what you can do when you apply yourself in the correct way.”

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