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Eastmond to join Bath

St Helens have confirmed that England half-back Kyle Eastmond will switch codes at the end of the season and join Bath.

In a statement, the Super League club announced that 21-year-old Eastmond had rejected their offer of a new contract.

"St Helens have been fantastic with me since I joined them 10 years ago and I am deeply indebted to them for their amazing support," said Eastmond. "I intend to give everything to the club, its supporters and my fellow players in my final season."

The announcement ends weeks of intense speculation over the future of Oldham-born Eastmond, who spoke to Sale before meeting with Bath officials earlier this year.

Eastmond, whose pace off the mark and elusive footwork brought him comparisons with another dual-code player, Jason Robinson, burst into the spotlight during the 2009 Four Nations Series.

He came through the Saints youth system after joining the club at the age of 13 and made his Super League debut at stand-off against Salford at the age of 17 in a 27-26 win in June 2007.

Eastmond won the first of four England caps against France in 2009 but missed all last year's internationals through injury and was left out of coach Steve McNamara's 32-strong elite training squad, which was announced on Monday.

His 54 appearances in Super League have so far brought him 32 tries and 113 goals and, although he was leading scorer for his club in 2010, his form in Saints' first three games has been indifferent and he was booed off by supporters after Friday's loss to Warrington. Eastmond stormed off the pitch after that match and later issued a public apology to the club's fans for failing to acknowledge them.

The news will be a big relief to new Saints coach Royce Simmons, who had called for an end to the uncertainty, and he is confident the player will now be able to re-produce his best form for the club.

He told BBC Radio Merseyside: "A lot of people will say, 'Is he going to perform good for the rest of the year?' but the game we play in is a professional game. Kyle has guaranteed us he is going to knuckle down and play hard. I think that will be a big load off his mind."


From Belfast Telegraph