LEEDS RHINOS have continued their impressive recruitment for the 2023 Women’s Super League with the capture of St Helens and England international star Amy Hardcastle.
Hardcastle won four trophies with the Saints, which included a historic treble winning season back in 2021, as Saints beat the Rhinos at Headingley in the Grand Final.
The centre leaves Saints having scored an impressive 50 tries in 28 games, including 27 tries in 15 games in 2022. She also found the try line eight times in five games for England last year, including five tries at the Rugby League World Cup. Hardcastle also scored a memorable try against her new club in our 2021 Grand Final victory.
On her exit, Hardcastle said: “Firstly, I would like to thank all of the St Helens fans out there. Your support to myself whilst being at the club has been unbelievable. Thank you for welcoming me and making me feel at home in your town.
“Your support to the girls is amazing and I know you will continue to support them and help to see the women’s game evolve. The town is very lucky to have you all.”
“Now to my team, I have loved every minute with you all at Saints, have made some friends for life, have became a better player and made history with you all. It has been some of the best times in my career which I will cherish forever. I wish you all the very best in the 2023 season, keep on raising the profile over there!
“Finally, I would like to thank all the staff for supporting week in week out. You have made the journey so much easier and I am very grateful for all of your support. Thank you to the club for supporting me across two seasons at Saints. It has been an absolute privilege, thank you!”
Saints’ Women’s Head of Rugby Craig Richards said: “Amy has been a fantastic ambassador and a gem of a player for the club. Whilst it is disappointing that she moves on, we wish her the best of luck in the future.
“It now gives us an opportunity to bring one or two young players through and we will also be looking to recruit like we always have done.
“It gives a great opportunity for players in our u19 squad who have been working really hard to push on and get into the first team now. Whilst it is sad to see Amy leave it gives a great chance for young players in our academy!”
Saints Women’s Head Coach Matty Smith commented: “Obviously, Amy has been a great player for the club in the past few seasons before I arrived. The recent Rugby League World Cup meant I was able to attend some of the games and you could see Amy’s quality and I had been looking forward to working with her in 2023.
“Although that now won’t happen, I want to wish Amy all the best at Leeds in 2023 and thank her for her efforts whilst at our club. Now it gives others from within the club a great opportunity to fight for that starting shirt next season.”
Upon joining Leeds, Hardcastle said: “It’s exciting to be joining the Rhinos and I am looking forward to the new challenge. After the World Cup, I started looking at my options and thinking about what I wanted to do and considered did I want to stay in the game, did I want to progress and I had to think about what would benefit myself and my family. Being closer to home was a factor for me and I still want to play at the best level that I possibly can, with a quality side as well. Leeds were at the top of the options and I approached Lois and I asked her what her thoughts were and it went from there.
“It’s a great club and what they are doing for the Women’s team is exciting and seeing where the club is going. I have spoken to a lot of the girls when I have been in England training and they all have positive things to say about Leeds, so I am so grateful that I have been given this opportunity to play for another club and make some more memories and learn as well as making it easier for my family.
“I enjoyed my time at St Helens, it’s a great club and I can’t thank the staff and fans enough for how they helped with my journey and welcomed me in and I leave with many happy memories.”