Rhinos sign England star Briscoe on five year deal
Leeds Rhinos have announced that they have signed England winger Tom Briscoe, 23, on a five year contract from Hull FC beating competition from Super League and the NRL to secure his signature.
Briscoe, who has made 130 appearances for Hull FC since breaking onto the Super League scene in 2008, was yesterday named in Steve McNamara's 24 man England squad for the World Cup and will fly out to South Africa today for the side's training camp along with six of his new Leeds Rhinos team mates including skipper Kevin Sinfield.
Commenting on signing for Leeds Rhinos, Briscoe, who has scored 100 tries in his career to date, said, "I am really pleased to have my future sorted out before the focus turns to the World Cup with England. I was conscious that I did not want to rush into a decision and took my time before deciding what was the right move for me and my career. I came very close to moving to Australia and signing for Cronulla on a three year deal but the attraction of Leeds and the exciting times that are ahead here at Headingley Carnegie changed things for me.
"I spoke to a couple of the Leeds lads who are in the England squad and they could not speak highly enough about how the club is run on and off the field. Likewise, my younger brother Luke is already here and he loves being part of the Rhinos. The chance to maybe play alongside him in the future is something that remains an ambition for both of us,” added Briscoe.
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington is delighted to have finally captured the England star and to be able to add a player of his talent to the already existing top class players at the club. Hetherington commented, "Everyone was aware of Tom's intention to leave Hull FC at the end of the season and a lot of the speculation was that he would move to Australia. He was given the go ahead to speak to other clubs and our approach was made at the same time as he was going to accept the Cronulla offer. We outlined our offer and it was decided to leave the decision with Tom with the offer remaining 'on the table' until the end of this season. Tom put off his decision with Cronulla and eventually informed them of his decision not to accept. He later contacted me to accept our offer.
"I'm very pleased because we've signed a 23-year old World Class player who has committed his best years to the Rhinos and at the same time, rejected the lure of the NRL. It's a good day for the Rhinos and the Super League. I think it's a very significant signing for the Rhinos, one of the biggest we've made and it ranks alongside those of Iestyn Harris, Keith Senior, Gareth Ellis and Jamie Peacock,” Hetherington.
Briscoe will effectively replace prop Darrell Griffin, who left the club in mid-season to join Salford City Reds, in the senior first team squad. The Rhinos have also signed prop Andy Yates from Hunslet Hawks for next season and will be promoting a number of the young players who have made their impact on the squad this season. The remainder of the squad are contracted for next season.
Head Coach Brian McDermott added, "Tom is a fantastic talent and someone who I am sure will be a considerable addition to our existing squad for next season. As this season as shown, to compete at the highest level in the modern era takes a strong squad that is able to deal with the challenges that are thrown at you over the course of a season and adding a player of Tom's quality to our group is a huge boost for us. Of equal importance to his talent and ability is Tom's character and he is highly regarded by everyone who has worked with him throughout his career. We look forward to having him with us for next season and wish him and the rest of the England boys the best of luck for the World Cup.”