Leigh Leopards confirm sensational loan signing of Hull KR-bound Oliver Gildart

Leigh Leopards have today confirmed the loan signing of former Wigan Warriors man Oliver Gildart until the end of the season. 

The England international has spent the past two seasons in Australia, and joins Leigh from NRL side The Dolphins, but has also spent time at Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters whilst in Australia.

He joins the Leopards as injury cover for star centre Ricky Leutele, who will miss the rest of the 2023 season through injury.

Speaking on the arrival of Gildart, Leigh Leopards Head of Rugby Chris Chester said: “Having received the bad news about Ricky it was important that we quickly brought in someone else of quality into the club before the signing deadline.”

“Oliver is a top-class English centre who has represented his country and although contracted elsewhere for 2024 he is fully committed to helping Leigh Leopards achieve their goals this season.”

He added: “Adrian coached him at Wigan Warriors and knows him very well and he’s really excited to be working with him again.”

“I’d like to thank once again our club owner Derek (Beaumont) for his continued fantastic support in helping us bring in Oliver and also Oliver’s agent Liam Ayoub for his assistance in this move.”

Chester also confirmed when Gildart would be available for selection: “Oliver will be available for selection for the Betfred Super League Round 21 game at Leeds Rhinos next Sunday.”

Gildart is an experienced Super League player. He made his debut in 2015, and has won two Grand Finals in 2016 and 2018.

He has already had experience playing under current Leigh head coach Adrian Lam, as the two spent time together at Wigan Warriors prior to Gildart’s move to Australia. During his time in Cherry and White, Gildart also played alongside Zak Hardaker, and the pair will form a new partnership in the centres for the rest of the season.

Prior to his move to Australia, Gildart made 143 appearances for Wigan Warriors, scoring 65 tries. He was also part of the Warriors side that lost the 2020 Grand Final to St Helens.

He joins the Leopards ahead of an already confirmed move to their Challenge Cup Final opponents Hull KR in 2024, however is unable to represent his new employers at Wembley.