England centre Kyle Eastmond says he’s ‘very happy’ to have joined ‘massive club’ Leicester Tigers.
The club announced the signing of the dual code international Kyle Eastmond this morning on their website.
The explosive centre will lessen the blow of the early exit of Matt Toomua, who will return to Australia half way through the season.
After agreeing a move to Welford Road, Eastmond will be reunited with George Ford with whom he struck up an impressive understanding in their days together at Bath.
A scrum-half or full-back in his rugby league career with St Helens, Eastmond settled at centre in the 15-man game after moving to Bath in 2011. He gained his first England cap on the summer tour to Argentina in 2013 to go with similar honours in rugby league. He arrives at Tigers after spending the last two seasons with Wasps.
Eastmond said: “It’s great to join a massive club like Leicester with a strong tradition. I’m very happy to be a Tiger.”
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Tigers head coach Matt O’Connor said: “We have some very skilful and exciting players in our backline and Kyle will add to that quality.
“He has an impressive skillset and we’re delighted we’ve been able to bring him into the squad here ahead of the new season.”
Eastmond joins fellow internationals Matt Toomua, Manu Tuilagi, Telusa Veainu, Jonny May, George Ford and Ben Youngs among the backline options available to O’Connor at Tigers.
The outgoing Toomua – who will become a Melbourne Rebel – is now immediately eligible for the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup campaign which kicks off at ANZ Stadium against New Zealand on Saturday 18 August.
The 33-Test utility back last played for the Wallabies in the opening Bledisloe Cup Test of 2016 before joining Leicester Tigers in England’s Premiership.
“Leicester have been fantastic to me throughout my time here. The option to return to Australia was something that did exist within my contract, only if a chance to represent the Wallabies was there and, with a Rugby World Cup next year, was ultimately one I couldn’t turn down,” Toomua said.
“As well as a chance to represent my country at a World Cup again, the return home also allows me to be closer to both my wife and family after nearly three years on the opposite side of the world.
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