Callum McLelland returns to rugby league

Talented playmaker leaves Scottish Rugby less than 10 months after becoming poster boy of SQ programme

Callum McLelland
Callum McLelland has decided that his future lies in rugby league ***Image: ©Craig Watson***

SCOTLAND UNDER-20s star Callum McLelland has signed a three and a half year deal with Leeds Rhinos rugby league side, just nine months after switching away from the 13-man code to become the poster boy of the SRU’s highly hyped SQ [Scottish Qualified] programme, which aims to attract talent from across the globe to represent the country at the highest level.
McLelland joined Edinburgh from Castleford Tigers as an 18-year-old last November but did not make a first team appearance for the pro team and managed only a handful of games in the Premiership for Hawick. He did, however, impress when playing for Scotland Under-20s at the Junior World Cup in France during the summer, scoring an excellent solo try against Argentina.

The stand-off played rugby union until the age of 13 before focusing on league, in which code he captained England Under-16s. He qualifies for Scotland through a grandfather born in East Ayrshire.

McLelland has joined Leeds too late to play in the first team this season, but director of rugby Kevin Sinfield pointed out that time is on the youngster’s side [he is still only 18].

“Callum was a huge loss to our sport when he left and it is great to welcome him back,” said Sinfield. “He is an outstanding talent and, in his age group, he is up there with the very best. There were a host of clubs who were chasing his signature and it is brilliant news for Leeds Rhinos that he has agreed to join us.”

McLelland said: “The chance to come home to West Yorkshire and be part of something special here at the Rhinos was something that was very attractive to me. When you look around the stadium and speak to Kevin Sinfield about the plans for the team moving forward, I knew it was the right move for me.”

That was the month that was: July 2018


About David Barnes 4004 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.