Eastmond to cross codes
March 1, 2011
Kyle Eastmond will cross codes at the end of the season © Getty Images
England rugby league halfback Kyle Eastmond will cross codes at the end of the season to join Aviva Premiership side Bath.
St Helens, Eastmond's Super League club, confirmed on Tuesday that the 21-year-old had turned down their offer of a new contract.
He was on Monday omitted from the England wider training squad for the Four Nations by coach Steve McNamara, opening the door for him to sign a deal with Bath through to June 2014.
"St Helens have been fantastic with me since I joined them 10 years ago and I am deeply indebted to them for their amazing support," Eastmond said. "I intend to give everything to the club, its supporters and my fellow players in my final season."
The announcement of Eastmond's switch ends weeks of speculation over the player's future. Eastmond came through the Saints youth system after joining the club at the age of 13 and made his Super League debut at stand-off against Salford at the age of 17 in June 2007. He then won the first of four England caps against France in 2009 but missed all last year's internationals through injury.
His form in Saints' first three games this season has been indifferent however and he was booed off by supporters after Friday's loss to Warrington. Eastmond stormed off the pitch after that match and later issued a public apology to the club's fans for failing to acknowledge them.
Bath director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan believes Eastmond will make a smooth transition from league to union. "Kyle is an exceptionally promising young talent, who has already developed a set of skills in league that will prove very useful in union," McGeechan said. "He's a hard working player who will fit in well with the squad here and we are all very excited about the opportunity to work with him."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament