Newcastle Falcons have signed former Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats winger Lee Smith with immediate effect until the end of the 2014-15 season.
Super League star Smith, 27, who won the Grand Final three times in a row with Leeds including a man-of-the-match display against St Helens in 2008, has joined up with his new teammates ahead of this weekend’s Aviva Premiership trip to Harlequins.
Averaging a try every two games in just over 150 outings for the West Yorkshire club, Smith touched down in all three of Leeds’ Grand Final victories with his impressive form earning him a call-up to the England squad for the 2008 World Cup in Australia. Crossing the whitewash three times in England’s opening World Cup match with Papua New Guinea, Smith went on to rack up seven tries in eight caps for his country. As well as his try-scoring prowess, Smith was also understudy to goal-kicking legend Kevin Sinfield with the boot, notching over more than 30 goals in the England captain’s absence.
After representing England in the Four Nations in 2009, Smith who can also ply his trade at centre, switched codes to join London Wasps and ironically he came up against the Falcons in the LV= Cup in his first game at Adams Park before returning to Leeds later that season.
Picking up where he left off at the Headingley Carnegie Stadium, the powerful pacey back continued his predatory attacking instincts under head coach Brian McDermott before making the move to Wakefield in 2012.
“I’m extremely thankful to Newcastle for giving me the opportunity to play in the Aviva Premiership,” said Smith.
“This is an exciting challenge for me in the North East and I can’t wait to get started,” added the Morley-born back.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards is delighted with his capture, saying: “Lee is a quality signing for the club and is a proven try scorer at the highest level in rugby league.
“I’m confident that he can replicate his talent in the 15-aside code, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing him in action in the Aviva Premiership,” he added.