Leeds’ Academy coach Rob Burrow has tipped Halifax’s new backline recruit Reece Chapman-Smith for Championship success, providing he can steer clear of the injury problems that hampered his progress at Headingley.
Chapman-Smith, a full back or half back, joined Fax on a one year deal last week after being released by the Rhinos, at least in part because he is now ineligible for their under 19s side.
Word from inside the Fax camp is that the 20 year old, whose last game for Leeds was in the Academy Grand Final against Wigan, is already impressing on the training field, reports that don’t surprise Burrow.
“The first thing is I’m really pleased someone has given Reece an opportunity,” said Burrow, who has coached Chapman-Smith since he joined the Rhinos’ scholarship programme.
“He’s had some issues with injuries - both shoulders and an ACL - but he’s a skilful, really athletic player who can still have a really big future in the game.
“Honestly, if you’d asked me to pick a player at 16 who was going to go on and become a world beater, I’d have picked Reece; he was a real stand-out.
“He just needs a run of games and a little bit of luck, if he gets that he’ll be a great catch for Halifax.
“He’s got some leadership skills too; we had a really young Academy side this year and he was a big part of taking that group within one game of being Champions.
“Absolutely, if we had somewhere to play him, we’d have kept him at Leeds.
“Players mature and develop physically at different times and they’re not all ready at 18 or 19.
“I really hope he can use this move as a springboard to go on and achieve what I believe he’s capable of.”