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St Helens sign Super League forward

St Helens have announced the signing of James Bell on a two-year deal.

Bell, 27, was one of Leigh’s top performers during their difficult campaign playing 18 times, scoring one try with five assists and Kristian Woolf has added the Scottish international to his pack for 2022.

Prior to joining Super League, Bell made two NRL appearances for New Zealand Warriors back in 2017, before spending two years in France for Toulouse Olympique where he made 27 appearances scoring 10 tries.

On signing for Saints, Bell said:“I couldn’t believe it when my manager put the contract in my emails. This has been the opportunity I have been waiting my whole career for. Joining the Super League this year, clearly St Helens are the team to beat and I hold them in high regard.

“I can’t wait to rip in, join a winning culture and a great system and I feel it will take my personal game to the next level. I really can’t wait.”

Head Coach Kristian Woolf said: “Whenever we have played Leigh, James has made himself noticed through his physicality. The way he wants to get up and out of the line and have an impact on the game. He is a player with a great work ethic.

“He also has an outstanding skill set that will suit how we want to play. We found him difficult to defend against, particularly with his short passing game and his ability to play right into the line and play out of the back.

“I also love his versatility. He can play that 13 role, on the edge if needed and he has also jumped in at nine, so he is going to offer us some great depth and competition across a number of starting spots.”

Bell played in the New Zealand Warriors’ 2014 NYC Grand Final win over the Brisbane Broncos. A year later he graduated to the Warriors’ New South Wales Cup team and in 2016 he was named the side’s man of the year whilst he also captained the New Zealand Māori rugby league team.

Bell has also played for Scotland on five occasions, including in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

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