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Cardiff's Iestyn Harris
"It's a great day for me"
 real 56k

Chairman of the WRU Glanmor Griffiths
"We first approached Iestyn three years ago"
 real 56k

Welsh coach Graham Henry
"It's a major signing for Welsh rugby"
 real 56k

Friday, 10 August, 2001, 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK
Cardiff complete Harris capture
Iestyn Harris
Harris could play against Tonga in November
Iestyn Harris has joined Cardiff in a 2m switch from rugby league side Leeds Rhinos.

The 25-year-old Great Britain Rugby League international becomes the latest high profile player to move to the 15-man code.

It is going to be difficult for me to break into the Cardiff side and I don't want to look any further forward than that
Iestyn Harris

"It is a great day for me," he said. "It is something I've talked about for a long time, but now is the right moment.

"I am under no illusions, I have a tough, hard road ahead.

"It is going to be difficult for me to break into the Cardiff side and I don't want to look any further forward than that."

Leeds will receive 850,000 and a hospitality box at the Millennium Stadium for Harris while a large chunk of the 2m will be used to pay the player's wages.

"I welcome Iestyn with open arms," said Welsh national coach Graham Henry. "This is a hugely significant day."

Harris, who qualifies for Wales through his father and grandfather, will link up with Cardiff in September and is expected to make his international debut against Tonga at the Millennium Stadium in November.

"Naturally we are disappointed to be losing Iestyn," said Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington.

  Iestyn Harris
Born: 25 June, 1976
Height: 5ft 10in
Weight: 13st 10lb
Warrington 1993-1997: 90 appearances (+2 sub); 37 tries; 182 goals; 4 drop goals; 516 points.
Leeds 1997-present: 131 appearances (+8 sub); 65 tries; 594 goals;7 drop goals; 1455 points
Wales: 14 appearances; 8 tries; 30 goals; 1 drop goal; 93 points
Great Britain: 5 appearances (+2 sub); 1 try; 4 points.

"He has been a terrific servant to the club and to the game, but we fully understand his desire to continue his career with the Welsh Rugby Union and Cardiff.

"We have tried to negotiate a deal which will reflect his standing and ability in the game."

The four-year deal breaks the transfer record set in 1996 when Newcastle Falcons paid Wigan 750,000 over five years for Va'aiga Tuigamala.

In four years at Headingley he has played in a variety of positions - full-back, stand-off and scrum-half - but still clocked up more than 50 tries in 131 appearances.

He joined Warrington in 1993 where he came under the wing of dual-code international Jonathan Davies, and topped 500 points before being lured to Leeds.

Harris joins other rugby league stars such as Jason Robinson and Henry Paul who have switched codes in recent times.

BBC Wales ScrumV - with Jonathan Davies and Eddie Butler
BBC Wales ScrumV

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See also:

09 Aug 01 |  Wales
Harris keeps it in the family
07 Aug 01 |  Rugby League
Cunningham snubs union advances
06 Aug 01 |  Welsh-Scottish Rugby
WRU attacked over Harris cash
02 Aug 01 |  Rugby League
Harris rules himself out of Ashes
02 Aug 01 |  Rugby League
Op could end Harris' league career
Other top Welsh-Scottish Rugby stories:

Links to more Welsh-Scottish Rugby stories are at the foot of the page.

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