Leeds Rhinos sign hooker Kruise Leeming from Huddersfield Giants on two-year deal

Kruise Leeming
Kruise Leeming
0
Have your say

LEEDS Rhinos have significantly added to their arsenal with the capture of England Knights star Kruise Leeming from Huddersfield Giants.

The highly-rated hooker is deemed one of the most exciting No9s in the domestic game and – still aged just 24 – certainly has his best years ahead of him.

Leeds Rhinos' new signing Kruise Leeming in action for England Knights at Headingley last month.

Leeds Rhinos' new signing Kruise Leeming in action for England Knights at Headingley last month.

Leeming was under contract with Huddersfield with one year remaining on his deal at John Smith’s Stadium.

However, he had put in a transfer request after making it known he would not be looking to extend his time at the club and Giants subsequently made him available for sale.

The West Yorkshire rivals have now agreed a package that also sees 20-year-old prop Owen Trout move the other way.

Leeming has signed a two-year contract at Emerald Headingley where he was in action only last month, featuring for the Knights in their win over Jamaica.

Kruise Leeming trains with his new Leeds Rhinos team-mates at Kirkstall. Picture: Leeds Rhinos.

Kruise Leeming trains with his new Leeds Rhinos team-mates at Kirkstall. Picture: Leeds Rhinos.

“I am excited to be joining the Rhinos and looking forward to the future,” said the player, who has already started training with Richard Agar’s side.

“I would like to thank everyone at the Giants who have supported me down the years and I wish the club well in the years ahead.

“I am looking forward to running out at Emerald Headingley as a Leeds Rhinos player; it is an amazing atmosphere when you are an opposition player, so I can only imagine how good it will feel to be a Rhinos player.”

Leeming’s departure will be a sizeable loss for Giants, given head coach Simon Woolford is a big admirer of the player’s quality and praised his improvement last season when he only missed one game.

Owen Trout has joined Huddersfield Giants from Leeds Rhinos.

Owen Trout has joined Huddersfield Giants from Leeds Rhinos.

With his rapid acceleration out of the dummy-half position, eye for a gap and distribution quality, he often made an instant impression when coming on for Adam O’Brien in the Claret and Gold. Leeming has developed all aspects of his game, though, and it is no surprise he is so well-regarded in the England ranks where there is a firm belief he will eventually go on to become a Test player.

At Rhinos, he will dovetail with Brad Dwyer, who was one of the Rhinos players to emerge with credit in a difficult 2019, but the club also has high hopes for England Academy hooker Corey Johnson who debuted in their final game of the season against Warrington.

Leeming – who was born in Swaziland but moved to Halifax aged three – conceded: “We have got great competition at the club for the hooking role with Brad Dwyer and Corey Johnson. But I think that is great for the Rhinos.

“As a professional player you thrive off that challenge and I am sure we will all work together to get the best possible result for the team.”

The Siddal ALRFC product made 122 appearances for the Giants after emerging through the club’s academy, making his debut aged just 17 in 2013. Understandably, his decision has disappointed many at Huddersfield who – like Leeds – are looking to respond positively in 2020 after dicing with relegation this year.

Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield, though, is pleased to get the important business completed as Leeds continue their rebuild plans.

They let Australian No9 Matt Parcell join Hull KR in June in a swap deal that saw former England rake Shaun Lunt come the other way but only as a stop-gap.

Leeming is the man they wanted long-term and Sinfield said: “We are delighted to have secured Kruise.

“He is an exciting, young English player who has played over a hundred games in Super League and impressed our coaching staff. He will join our squad in pre-season training with immediate effect and I am sure he will be a great addition to our squad. I’d like to thank Owen Trout for his efforts at the Rhinos; he had a taste of first team rugby last season at Dewsbury and Featherstone and I am sure he will relish the challenge of a new club at the Giants.”