St Helens suspend Kyle Eastmond for 'serious misconduct'

St Helens have suspended Bath-bound half-back Kyle Eastmond pending an investigation into alleged serious misconduct.

Saints have not divulged the nature of the incident but it seems certain to hasten his departure from the Super League club.

Today's revelation comes just two weeks after the 21-year-old confirmed his intention to switch codes at the season, when his current contract expires.

Eastmond has signed a three-year deal with Bath from November but may now be freed to join up with the Premiership club early.

A statement said: "St Helens RFC have announced that Kyle Eastmond has been suspended pending an investigation into serious misconduct.

"No further comment will be made until completion of the investigation."

The Oldham-born Eastmond, who joined St Helens as a youngster, burst onto the scene in spectacular fashion in 2009, playing a key role in St Helens' march to the Grand Final and impressing for England in their Four Nations campaign.

That form prompted Saints to allow the long-serving Sean Long and rival scrum-half Matty Smith to leave the club and hand Eastmond the number seven jersey for 2010.

However, he suffered an injury-disrupted season last year and missed the Four Nations Series as well as October's Grand Final with ankle problems that required surgery.

Eastmond made a quicker-than-expected recovery and has played in all five of his club's Super League matches so far this season but his form has been poor.

The writing was on the wall when he was forced to apologise to the club's fans for snubbing them at the end of Saints' home defeat by Warrington last month.

St Helens coach Royce Simmons will have to find a new scrum-half for Saturday's trip to Leeds, with Gary Wheeler expected to get the nod.