Leeds Rhinos sign York City Knights youngster

Leeds Rhinos have signed 19-year-old forward Toby Warren on a four-year contract that will keep him at Headingley until at least the end of the 2026 season, after the Rhinos agreed a deal with York City Knights to sign the Yorkshire Academy player.

Warren, a footballer until his mid-teens, was a latecomer to the sport at 14 and joined the Knights Foundation’s Excel player development programme after impressing with New Earswick All Blacks and Heworth.

After agreeing community dual-registration terms ahead of the 2021 season, Warren signed his first contract with the Knights that also allowed him to spend time with the Rhinos in the last two seasons, where he played in the Academy and Reserves.

As well as his training and playing commitments with the Rhinos, Warren will also begin his Sport and Business Management Degree at Leeds Beckett University this month.

“I am really excited about the future and the opportunity to join one of the biggest clubs in world rugby,” said Warren.

“I have really enjoyed the time I have spent on loan here over the last two years and it was always a club I wanted to be part of in the future. The lads are all great here and the coaches have really helped me. Chev Walker and Mark Butterill have really helped me as my coaches and I am excited to work with Rohan Smith now so I can kick on.

“I will always be grateful to the Knights for the help they have given me. They took me down when I was young kid who didn’t know too much about the game and allowed me to have the opportunity to come to the Rhinos and progress my game.

“The Championship is a great competition, I have been fortunate to play a few games in the Championship and it is a great way for young players to get into the professional game. I am thankful for the opportunity James Ford and York gave me.

Rhinos coach Rohan Smith said: “We are delighted to have secured Toby on a long-term deal. I would like to thank York for their support of Toby. He is a player with real potential and I am looking forward to seeing how he develops over the next few years. He is aware that he has a lot of work still to do but he has a great attitude and willingness to learn.”