Leeds Rhinos youngster joins Newcastle Falcons

Leeds Rhinos academy back Iwan Stephens has switched codes to join Newcastle Falcons.
Newcastle Falcons' Kingston Park. Picture by Getty Images.Newcastle Falcons' Kingston Park. Picture by Getty Images.
Newcastle Falcons' Kingston Park. Picture by Getty Images.

The 18-year-old England academy international has signed a two-year deal with the rugby union outfit and is already in pre-season training with his new club.

Stephens was top try scorer for Rhinos under-19s last year.

He was part of Yorkshire Carnegie’s developing player programme up until the age of 15 before committing to rugby league.

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His dad Colin Stephens played fly-half for Wales, Llanelli and Leeds Tykes and is now director of rugby union at Leeds Beckett University.

Newcastle Falcons academy manager Mark Laycock told the club's website: “Iwan has got a very professional attitude and a good head on his shoulders, which, combined with his natural ability, makes him a really exciting signing for us.

“To begin with he will play on the wing while he re-acquaints himself with rugby union, but he has all the skills and capabilities to play full-back too in the longer term."

He added: “He kicks goals, scores tries for fun and he’s a really evasive runner with outstanding athleticism.

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"He’s prepared to give professional rugby union a really good crack, he fits our style of play and it’s a great project for both parties.

“His game-understanding of rugby union is obviously a big work-on for him to begin with, but we know he’ll work his socks off and that he has the temperament to do it.

“As coaches it’s also interesting to tap into his knowledge and maybe pick up the odd bit from rugby league and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

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