12th April 2018, 07:17 | Leeds

Watkins commits future to Leeds

Watkins commits future to Leeds

Leeds Rhinos captain Kallum Watkins has committed his future to the Betfred Super League champions by signing a new contract that will keep him at the club at least until the end of 2021.

The 27-year-old England centre, who made his 200th Super League appearance for the Rhinos in last Sunday’s win at Wakefield Trinity, was contracted to the end of the 2019 season but is delighted to extend his stay.

“This is a big stage in any rugby player’s career as I come into my late twenties and it is a massive deal for me to sign a new contract,” said Watkins, who is thriving in the role of captain this season.

“I love this club from the bottom of my heart. It is a fantastic club and I have been fortunate to be part of a successful period in the early part of my career. Our challenge now is to take that culture forward.

“It might have been a surprise to some when I was named captain but I have to thank (coach) Brian (McDermott) and (chief executive) Gary (Hetherington) for giving me that opportunity. The role is a big responsibility but I am really enjoying it and want to take that chance with both hands.”

Watkins won his 25th cap in the World Cup final in December and is set to play in England’s mid-season Test against New Zealand in Denver on June 23.

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “Kallum was one of the outstanding players in the World Cup which is naturally going to attract plenty of attention for him. He is an elite, world-class player and at 27, he is committing his best years to the Rhinos and the Super League competition which is a fantastic boost for our club and competition.”