Rhys Evans sets sights on long-term deal at Leeds Rhinos

A LONG-TERM deal is the target for Welsh international Rhys Evans at the end of his initial spell with Leeds Rhinos.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 11:43 am
Rhys Evans celebrates scoring for Bradford Bulls.

The Bridgend-born back will spend the season at Leeds on loan from Bradford Bulls.

It is a return to Betfred Super League for the 27-year-old who scored 37 tries in 94 appearances in the competition for Warrington Wolves from 2010-2017.

He dropped into the Championship with Leigh Centurions for a season before moving to Bradford last year.

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Rhys Evans scores a try for Warrington.

Evans signed a new contract last October, but that included a get-out clause allowing him to join a top-flight club if the chance came along.

It is very early days, but Evans insisted: “If I can do well and help the team, you never know.

“Weird things happen in rugby league and you’ve just got to take it as it comes. Of course I’d like to play in Super League and for Leeds in the future, but I am not getting carried away with that.”

Rhinos left two spaces vacant when their squad was announced last month and were looking for a player who could provide cover across the outside-backs.

Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar.

Evans fits the bill, being able to play at full-back, centre or wing and is well known to Richard Agar from the Leeds boss’ time on the staff at Warrington. As part of the deal, some Rhinos youngsters will join Bulls on loan to gain first-team experience.

Evans trained with Rhinos last week and is taking part in a warm weather camp in Spain which began on Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It was my first day on Thursday and it was good to get in and meet all the staff and players. I really enjoyed it.”

Evans touched down four times in 17 games for Leigh and scored three tries during 15 appearances for Bulls, though his 2019 campaign was disrupted by a shoulder injury.

Leeds Rhinos' injured winger Tom Briscoe.

With Tom Briscoe still recovering from a knee reconstruction – and his brother Luke having missed Rhinos’ opening pre-season game due to injury – there could be an opening for Evans on Leeds’ right-wing when they face Hull at Emerald Headingley on February 2.

“It is nice to be potentially playing in Super League again,” he added.

“I did enjoy my time at Bradford, but I am looking forward to hopefully doing things well with Leeds too.

“I think every player wants to play at the highest level. I just want to bring what I’ve done before and just enjoy it and take the opportunity.

“I will take it game by game and see where it takes me. Leeds is a massive club and it has got a history of winning things.

“You want to be a part of that and hopefully this year – and for many years in the future – the club can do that.”

Evans admitted knowing Agar and his methods is an advantage as he settles in at his new club.

“I’ve worked with Rich before for a couple of years at Warrington and he’s a very good coach and a very good man,” he said.

“Being involved with him and working with him again is something I’m very much looking forward to.”

Evans has less than a month to get to know his new team-mates so the trip to Spain – ahead of Sunday’s home meeting with Bulls – is well-timed.

He pointed out: “I’m going to be spending five days with people I’ve just met so I’ll get to know people and to understand how they work and how the team works.”

He is confident it won’t take him long to get back up to speed at the elite level, stressing: “The Championship is very good, it’s probably the strongest it has ever been, especially with Toronto being in there the last couple of years. I have had a six- or seven-week pre-season with Bradford, which has been tough and hopefully I can get straight back into things and contribute as much as I can.”