Leeds Rhinos to give debut to Saracens and England 7s rugby union star Eloise Hayward in Women's Super League clash with Warrington Wolves
England Sevens rugby union back Eloise Hayward will make her Leeds Rhinos debut in Sunday's Betfred Women’s Super League clash with Warrington Wolves, at Wakefield’s Mobile Rocket Stadium, Belle Vue (noon).
Hayward joined Saracens at the start of the 2018-19 season, from Worcester Valkyries and has played for England under-18s in the 15- and seven-a-side versions of the game, as well as the full sevens side.
A scrum-half in union, she will play at centre for Rhinos and has been training with them for the past four weeks.
Hayward, from Howden in East Yorkshire, said: “I’ve played rugby league very, very briefly - a really short stint when I was about 15, but I have played rugby union all my life, since I was about four and I’ve played rugby sevens for the majority of my life.
“This weekend will be my first game [for Rhinos] and I am incredibly excited.”
Hayward is no stranger to league, her father having coached in the Royal Navy.
“I have always watched it, but never considered playing it until recently,” she said.
“I was going to be going into pre-season for union and I was chatting to some of my friends who play for Rhinos.
“I asked them how their season is going and they said ‘you’d really enjoy it, come and give it a go’.
“I shot Lois [Forsell, Rhinos’ coach] an email and she was really keen, said yes come down and that was that.”
Sunday will be a case of going in at the deep end, even with a month’s training under her belt.
Hayward predicted: “It is going to be a lot more physical than union.
“It’s just biding your time, trying to complete your sets and then find a way to score.
“Training has been a complete change of pace, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Tomorrow’s game will be the first this season played in front of fans.
Admission to the double-header - also featuring Wakefield Trinity against Huddersfield Giants at 3.30pm, is £5 adults and free for under-16s.
Featherstone Rovers take on Wigan Warriors at Millennium Stadium, Post Office Road, tomorrow (3.30pm) and Castleford Tigers face St Helens on Monday at Bradford’s Odsal (7.45pm).
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