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St Helens scrum-half Eastmond joins Bath in code switch

Kyle Eastmond
Eastmond is a product of the Saints academy

St Helens scrum-half Kyle Eastmond will switch codes at the end of the Super League season and join Bath.

The 21-year-old England international has signed a three-year contract with the Premiership side.

Bath performance director Sir Ian McGeechan told BBC Radio Bristol: "He's an exceptional talent.

"I think he will play in one of the outside back positions. It makes sense for us and it will also help him to make the transition."

McGeechan added: "He has very good skills and great feet but we have to be patient and allow him to make progress naturally.

"Hopefully we'll see the same talent that is there at St Helens emerging to be a real threat for us at Bath."

Eastmond's exit follows his exclusion from Steve McNamara's latest 32-man England elite squad.

I intend to give everything to St Helens, its supporters and my fellow players in my final season

Kyle Eastmond

The half-back's deal at Saints expires at the end of the season but he had been offered new terms by the club.

But on Monday, St Helens coach Royce Simmons told BBC Radio Merseyside that Eastmond, who had also been linked with Sale, was on his way out.

"He has decided to go to Bath - the players sat around and we talked about it," said Simmons.

"He guaranteed us he was going to give us 100% for the rest of this season.

"The players all shook his hand and congratulated him, he'd come clean and said what he was going to do.

"That's been weighing on a young bloke's mind for a long time and we've got that out of the way now, we can carry on."

Eastmond said: "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.

"I intend to give everything to the club, its supporters and my fellow players in my final season."

Oldham-born Eastmond came through the youth ranks at Saints and broke into the first team in 2007.

He has since made 60 appearances, running in 35 tries and kicking 133 goals.

In 2009, he scored 129 points in 17 games, scoring all his side's points in their 18-10 Grand Final defeat by Leeds at Old Trafford.

He was hit by an ankle injury last season, which restricted him to just five appearances in the latter stages of the campaign.

Despite featuring in all three of Saints' opening Super League fixtures this term, Eastmond's performances have been mixed.

After going unnoticed in the opening day 16-16 draw against Wigan at the Millennium Stadium, he returned to top form with two tries in Saints' 56-22 drubbing of Salford.

He failed to get on the scoresheet in the 25-18 defeat by Warrington on Friday at the Halton Stadium and was forced to make an apology to the fans after he walked straight down the tunnel at the final whistle and failed to acknowledge the supporters.

Eastmond follows the likes of Jason Robinson, Shontayne Hape and Chev Walker in swapping the 13-man code for Bath, who currently sit fourth in the Premiership table.

Walker has since returned to rugby league with Hull KR and is currently playing for Bradford Bulls.

"Our record is good with conversions," said Bath skills coach Brad Davis, who also made the move from league to union.

"We can provide him with a platform from which he can not only have a magnificent Bath career but push on to international honours as well."

"But anyone who gets an opportunity to have a look at him, you'll see how dynamic he is as a player."

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see also
McNamara selects England squads
28 Feb 11 |  Rugby League
Saints keen to hang onto Eastmond
18 Feb 11 |  St Helens
Bath eye St Helens star Eastmond
30 Dec 10 |  Bath
Eastmond to miss start of season
18 Nov 10 |  St Helens
Eastmond pens new Saints contract
02 Dec 09 |  St Helens
Eastmond touted as Long successor
16 Nov 09 |  St Helens

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