Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar explains why Kyle Eastmond wasn't selected against Wakefield Trinity and issues injury update

It is only a matter of time before dual-code international Kyle Eastmond makes his Leeds Rhinos debut, coach Richard Agar says.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 6:00 am

Eastmond signed for Leeds on March 3 after a decade in rugby union.

He has not played since early last year and Agar felt Rhinos’ opening game of the season, against Wakefield two days ago, was too early for the 31-year-old playmaker.

Asked when he will be ready, Agar - whose side face Castleford Tigers at St Helens on Friday - said: “A week or two, it shouldn’t be much more than that.

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Rhinos coach Richard Agar at Saturday's game. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“We’ll play it week-by-week; we’ll make a decision mid-week [this] week or the week after.

“One part of it is physical conditioning and the second part is getting used to us and the style we play and rugby league again.

“He is learning every day, he asks super questions and he’s a grade-one athlete.

“It’s not something we are stressing about, we want to put him in when he is right and good to go, without worrying about getting through 80 minutes.”

Kyle Eastmond. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Agar insisted it would not be fair on Eastmond - who is one of Super League’s most high-profile new signings - to throw him into a key role too soon.

He added: “What we didn’t want to do is dump him in when he’s physically not quite there and in tune with what we are doing.

“We just want Kyle to be fully ready to go when he gets in there, or I don’t think we’d be doing him any favours.”

Eastmond was one of eight players unavailable for the 28-22 win over Trinity.

“Konrad Hurrell (calf muscle) will be two or three weeks and Harry Newman (broken leg) at least a month,” Agar confirmed.

“Tom Holroyd (leg) will probably be another month and Ash Handley (knee) is two weeks into a six-week injury.

“Probably, apart from Kyle in the next week or two, we’ll have no one for three or four weeks and then it’ll be Ash, Konny and Harry not long after them.”

Jack Walker (foot), Rob Lui (quad) and Callum McLelland (groin) are all on the long-term casualty list.

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