LEWIS JONES SIGNS FOR LEEDS – AGAIN
The Rhinos have revealed their latest crop of Academy signings including a young man with a very famous name.
Leeds Rhinos have signed Lewis Jones. The 16-year-old prop – who shares his name with Leeds’ greatest-ever player – is among nine teenagers who have joined the club’s Academy system. The young Jones plays his junior rugby for Stanningley and is regarded as an outstanding prospect by Rhinos’ coaching staff. Other teenagers signed by Leeds this week are: Ryan Wright, a 16-year-old hooker from Hunslet Warriors; Jack Carvell, 15, a back-rower, from Stanningley; Declan Storey, 16, centre, from Hunslet Warriors; George Elliott, 16, a centre from New Earswick All Blacks, York and Thomas Carroll, 16, a half-back from Hunslet Warriors. Also signing on the dotted line are Jake Normington, 16, a back-rower, from Hunslet Warriors; Nathan Harper, 16, a second-row from Normanton Knights and Daniel MackIntosh, 16, a half-back from Stanley Rangers. Elliott has signed a dual-code contract, with Rhinos’ rugby union sister club Leeds Carnegie. Mackintosh is the son of former Leeds player Ian Mackintosh. Rhinos head of youth performance John Bastian has high hopes for the new intake. He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "They will all be playing in the Foundation Academy, under-16s, under the guidance of Jamie Jones-Buchanan. "They will then progress through the Junior Academy. They are an exciting group, there’s some really talented young prospects in there. "I fully expect some of these, in three or four years’ time, to be pushing for first-grade status." The players have been identified by Bastian and chief scout Bob Pickles. Said Bastian: "Our talent identification process has been very good this year and also the scholarship coaches deserve a lot of credit for the improvement and development of these young men. "The hard work they put in from week to week is reflected in the way these young players have improved." Super League rivals Bradford Bulls last week signed two players – brothers Andrew and Michael Tate – from Rhinos’ scholarship scheme. Twins Tom and George Burgess, who have been in the Leeds system, have also joined Bradford. Bastian said: "We have lost some players to Bradford Bulls and we wish them well in their careers. We feel that because of the infrastructure we have at Leeds and the talent identification process we have in place, we are going to attract attention from other Super League clubs. "But I believe that we’ve got some very talented players in this nine, who will have every opportunity to play first grade in the future. Players need to go through an apprenticeship and that’s what we offer at Leeds. "They will earn the right to be part of our first grade squad in the future, we feel that’s the most successful process of development."