Ian Watson explains why Jake Wardle and Ricky Leutele left Huddersfield Giants

Huddersfield Giants head coach Ian Watson has given some more details behind the players that left the club at the end of the 2022 season.

Big names such as Ricky Leutele, Jake Wardle and loanee Toby King have departed the John Smith’s Stadium to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

Speaking to Giants TV, Watson has revealed that centre Leutele turned down the chance to stay with his next club yet to be revealed.

“We were trying to keep Ricky,” Watson confirmed. “We feel we’ve replaced him there with a couple of great players but wish him good luck.

“Ricky has decided there is a different avenue to go down with his family so time will tell on that one. He’s made that call for him.”

Meanwhile academy product Wardle, who made his debut for England last season, has also departed after agreeing a deal to sign for Wigan Warriors.

The 23-year-old was loaned to Warrington Wolves in a swap deal with Toby King midway through last season, and in a strange twist King has also signed for Wigan.

“Sometimes things don’t work out and people have to move,” Watson explained. “When I first came here you looked at Jake Wardle and he’s got massive potential.

“Unfortunately, he’s had a few injuries and he’s been kept out of the team by two great centres here.

“They (Wigan) have got a great kid with great potential. We have nothing against Jake and there is nothing from Jake against Huddersfield, it’s just rugby and it happens at times.

“Toby King is another one. He’s a great guy and a great player who could be anything and, in him and Jake, Wigan have got two great people.”

Kevin Naiqama and Esan Marsters are the likely replacements for the aforementioned departures, with Jake Connor, Sam Halsall and Jake Bibby among the other backs signed by the Giants for next season.

You can watch the full interview with Watson on Giants TV here.

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