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Leeds Rhinos confirm another lower league signing day after Luke Hooley capture

Leeds Rhinos player eon Ruan

It’s been a big two days for Leeds.

Yesterday they announced the signing of Batley fullback Luke Hooley on a two-year deal and have today confirmed the signing of another young player from the lower leagues.

Leeds Rhinos have agreed a full time contract with young forward Leon Ruan and he moves to Headingley on a three year contract from League One side Doncaster.

Ruan, 19, has been training with the Rhinos first team squad this season after impressing Rhinos Head Coach Rohan Smith with his performances for Doncaster. Playing in the second row, he has helped Richard Horne’s side reach the League One Play Off Final with twenty appearances and six tries this season so far in his first year at the club.

He moved to South Yorkshire in 2022 having developed through the Wakefield Trinity academy system but is originally from Morley and played his junior rugby at Batley Boys. He capped a fine season last weekend with a try in Doncaster’s impressive 52-20 win over Rochdale to book their place in the Play Off Final this Sunday at Swinton Lions. Ruan’s form for Doncaster saw him nominated for the Betfred League One Young Player of the Year award. 

Commenting on the signing Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Rohan Smith said, “Leon is a powerful edge backrower with a great attitude to learn and improve. He has had a strong season in League 1 that we have tracked closely for months.  Leon has transitioned well into our squad in recent weeks, alongside his Doncaster training. We wish Doncaster all the best with their bid towards promotion.”

Ruan added, “It has been an unreal experience so far, training with the Rhinos and getting to know them, it has been a bonus to be in that environment and I can’t wait to get started properly. I was part of the group at the Grand Final the other week and to get a taste of an occasion like that was brilliant. To get to a Grand Final and be part of it is what we all play rugby for. That experience has certainly encouraged my appetite and I want to help the team get there again in the years to come. 

“Doncaster have been a massive part of my career to get where I am and have the chance to sign at Leeds. The coaches, staff and players have helped me and pushed me to find out about myself physically and mentally, without them I wouldn’t be where I am now. 

“My plan was always to try and get a shot at Super League. I wanted to get game time and the experience against men which Doncaster offered me. I have always backed my potential and it has been a journey to get to where I want to be. I am looking forward to a big off season, so I can hit the ground running, grow physically and settle into the squad,” added Ruan. 

Carl Hall, Doncaster Chief Executive added, “Rohan Smith has done an exceptional job throughout this process and I am sure Leon’s journey has only just started. He leaves Doncaster with our best wishes. The relationship between the Rhinos and Doncaster is important to us and we are really proud to play our part in helping Leon realise his dream. We look forward to seeing him progress in the coming years.”

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