LEEDS coach Richard Agar said he was encouraged as Kyle Eastmond made his Rhinos debut against Wigan – six weeks after signing a two-year contract with the club.
The 31-year-old former St Helens star, back in Rugby League after almost a decade playing union for Bath, Wasps and Leicester, was very much under the spotlight as he featured in his first game of any rugby for more than twelve months.
Wigan scored four tries to win 19-6 at Headingley and ensure there would be no fairy-tale return to Super League for the dual-code international, who lined-up at scrum-half and supplied the pass as Alex Mellor scored Leeds’ sole touchdown after 46 minutes.
But Agar, whose injury-depleted side have now lost three games in a row, believes the early signs were promising, explaining: “I thought he was solid.
“Defensively he was outstanding. He pulled off some strong tackles on their right edge.
“He struggled to find his way into the game with the ball but that was only natural given the limited preparation he has had in our team.
“It probably would have helped him if we had some recognised pivots around him but I thought he warmed to it well and he will be better for the run.”
Eastmond said: “I feel a little bit relieved. The main thing was to get this one under my belt after being out of the game for 14 months.
“Training is not really any good to me, for me it’s about real action. I honestly thought it was going to be worse than that.”