Wolfpack sign New Zealand forward

Toronto are set to add James Bell to their squad in 2021.

League Express understands the New Zealand-born, Scotland international will join the Wolfpack next season.

Bell, 26, is currently playing for Championship side Toulouse Olympique after joining the club last season from New Zealand Warriors.

A backrower or loose-forward, Bell had a superb start to the 2020 season as he scored four tries in five games.

He looks set to be Toronto’s fifth signing ahead of next year, with Stevie Ward, Richie Myler, Ryan Hall and Ben Flower all expected to join Brian McDermott’s squad next season.

Bell was a star performer in New Zealand Warriors’ reserve grade side, which resulted in him captaining New Zealand Maori in 2016.

The year after he made his NRL debut for the Warriors, but only made two first-grade appearances before joining Toulouse in 2019.

They had spotted Bell in the World Cup after he represented Scotland in the 2017 tournament.

Bell has an EU passport, so he will not be classed as a full quota player for Toronto, but will take one of their seven non-federation trained spots.

Plenty of changes are expected at the Wolfpack as they attempt to re-adjust their salary cap.

Meanwhile, the club launched a formal partnership with the UK Government’s Department for International Trade last week.

It is welcome news for Toronto, who have been keen to tighten their trade businesses since inception.

“Sport can be an important bridge for sound, effective business between the two countries and has always been an integral objective for the club since its formation,” said Martin Vickers, the Wolfpack’s UK General Manager.

“This agreement will see the Wolfpack co-hosting trade events with the Department for International Trade and helping our partners access new opportunities both in the UK and Canada.”

Mark Robson, head of UK Regions for Yorkshire & Humber at the Department for International Trade, added: “We’re excited to be launching this partnership and to be working alongside Toronto Wolfpack and Super League. This is an important time in which to support exporters in accessing opportunities overseas, and to promote trade with Canada. Our aim is that this partnership will provide businesses with high-quality market insights, and enable them to gain market traction through Rugby League’s growing trans-Atlantic presence.”