Leeds beat Cas to snap up McLelland

Leeds Rhinos have signed young halfback Callum McLelland after luring him away from rugby union.

The 18-year-old had left to join the 15-man code at the end of last season having captained England’s Academy side in 2017.

However, he has decided to return to the Rugby League and the Rhinos have paid an undisclosed fee to sign the Pontefract-born youngster.

McLelland was on the books at Castleford Tigers before his departure and it’s understood they wanted to re-sign him.

However, the Rhinos have won the battle for his services.

“We are delighted to have signed Callum,” said Leeds’ director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

“He was a huge loss to our sport when he left and it is great to welcome him back. He is an outstanding talent and, in his age group, he is up there with the very best. There were a host of clubs who were chasing his signature and it is brilliant news for Leeds Rhinos that he has agreed to join us.

“It was important that we created some competition in our halfbacks. Callum has a great football brain and he will complement what we have for next year in Richie Myler and Tui Lolohea, that internal competition is something I have been keen to improve since I returned, they will drive each other on and the two that get the shirts will do their best for us on any given week.”

McLelland added: “It is great to be joining a club like Leeds Rhinos and I am very excited about my future here. I have enjoyed my opportunity in Rugby Union and would like to thank Richard Cockerill, all the coaches and players at Edinburgh and with Scotland U20 who worked with me over the past year.

“The chance to come home to West Yorkshire and be part of something special here at the Rhinos was something that was very attractive to me. When you look around the stadium and speak to Kevin Sinfield about the plans for the team moving forward, I knew it was the right move for me. I am looking forward to the opportunity of working with Rob Burrow as well. Rob was my hero growing up and I know there is so much I can learn from all the coaches here at the Rhinos.”