Leeds Rhinos have confirmed the signing of French international forward Justin Sangare, 24, who has joined the club on a two-year contract from the 2023 Betfred Super League season.
The 6’4” prop featured off the bench in Toulouse Olympique’s 20-6 win against the Rhinos on Saturday in France and has now agreed a move to Headingley for next season.
He has played 70 games for Toulouse Olympique having come through the club’s development programme. He made his debut for the club in 2016 when he was still just 17 and made six appearances off the bench that season in League One. The following year he made three starts and eight appearances as a replacement, with nine appearances off the bench in 2018, scoring four tries. The following year he earned a call up to the French national side for their tour to Australia, which included featuring in the World Nines in Sydney. In 2021, he was a mainstay of the Toulouse Olympique side which finally secured promotion to Super League, making 13 appearances and scoring ten tries in the process. This season so far he has made five starts and featured in 12 games as a replacement in Super League. In addition to his club form, Sangare scored for France last season off the bench against England in Perpignan.
Looking ahead to joining the Rhinos, Sangare said, “I am very excited to join Leeds for the next two seasons. It’s a club I have liked since my childhood days. I always dreamt to join such an organisation with so much success.
“I also have a very good connexion with Head Coach Rohan Smith and I hope to make the most of it during my time at Headingley.
“Before I join the Rhinos though I have a mission to finish with my teammates in Toulouse, my only club for now. I’ll give my best for us to stay in Super League for next year. And then I hope to finish the season on a high at the World Cup,” added Sangare.
Sangare becomes only the third ever French international to sign for Leeds following on from Patrick Entat and Eric Anselme. Leeds Rhinos Assistant Coach Sean Long is also the Assistant Coach of the French national side for this year’s Rugby League World Cup and has worked with Sangare over the last eighteen months in that role.
Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Rohan Smith added, “We are pleased to be able to confirm Justin’s signing. He is an impressive young man who has shown this season that he can compete at the highest level. He is keen to continue to learn and develop and we are looking forward to having him at the Rhinos next season.”