A WOODHOUSE Grove pupil's rugby career continues to go from strength to strength.

Talented teenager Ned McCormack has already played for England's U18 side in rugby union, and has now signed for Super League side Leeds Rhinos.

Having come through the prestigious Yorkshire Academy, it was widely expected that he would sign for a Gallagher Premiership team.

But despite him attending school in Bradford, McCormack is a Leeds native, and with his younger brother already at Rhinos, the lure of playing for his hometown club saw him turn his back on the 15-man code.

McCormack said: "I like the speed of rugby league and I feel it suits me as a player.

“I am really happy with the decision to join Leeds; it is local for me and I have always wanted to represent Leeds since I was young.

“There have been a few rugby union clubs who wanted to sign me but that would involve moving away from home and I am delighted to have signed with the Rhinos. 

"As an outside back, you are guaranteed to get the ball more in rugby league and I am looking forward to making the most of those opportunities.

“My younger brother Fergie is already on the Rhinos books and I am looking forward to playing with him again.

“I want to be able to play at the best standard I can, so I know I have got hard work in front of me.

“Headingley has a wonderful stadium, and it would be a dream to get to play there in front of the Rhinos fans.

“My family are delighted I have signed, my dad has been a Rhinos fan all his life, and it will be great for him to come down and support us."

John Bastian, who was integral to the development of Bradford Bulls’ academy from 2014 to 2019, is currently Leeds’ head of youth, and he said: "Ned has got great speed and balance and is a real rugby talent.

He was on a rugby union pathway but we have made him welcome at the Rhinos.

“It is great to have a club that fully supports youth development right from the top, as (first-team head coach) Rohan Smith has played a part in this signing, coming down and meeting Ned and his family.

“Ned will not play much rugby over the next four to six weeks as he starts a training programme in a professional environment, but after that he will be ready to go and I am looking forward to seeing him in action."