Webb boost for Rhinos

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The Independent Online

Brent Webb has put Leeds’ minds at rest on the eve of their Challenge Cup quarter-final against Wigan by signing a new, three-year contract with the Rhinos.

The New Zealand full-back’s current deal expires at the end of this season and his agent caused some alarm at Headingley by circulating other clubs about his possible availability.

Wigan and Warrington were among those apparently showing interest in one of Super League’s genuine star turns, but Webb has disappointed any suitors by opting to stay with Leeds.

“No-one who plays for Leeds wants to leave, if it’s his choice,” said Webb. “We’ve worked hard to come to an agreement and this deal will take me through until I’m 30 and will hopefully cover the prime of my career.

“Having Brian McClennan as coach was also a massive motivating factor for me to agree a new deal.”

McClennan, who coached Webb with the Kiwis, before linking up with him at Leeds, has no doubts about his value to his team.

“He is the outstanding full-back in world rugby league,” he said.

Webb plays in tomorrow’s tie against Wigan, but his fellow countryman, Ali Lauitiiti, misses out with a knee injury which he suffered in the victory over Bradford. Lee Smith, Simon Worrall and Danny Williams are added to McClennan’s squad.

The former Great Britain scrum-half, Bobbie Goulding, has parted company with Rochdale Hornets for the second time.

Goulding rejoined the club, at which he had considerable success first time around, at the start of this season, but they have lost their last six games and are two places off the bottom of National League 2.

“Sometimes in rugby league, a job just doesn’t work out and this is an example of that,” said Hornets’ chairman, David Vining.

Halifax, top of NL1, have re-signed their former scrum-half, Ben Black, from his Australian club, Burleigh Bears.

Sheffield Eagles, currently third in that division, have given another chance to Damien Reid on his release from prison.

Reid was jailed for six months for breaking a friend’s jaw on a night out and had his contract cancelled by Salford. If he plays for Sheffield following his early release, he will have to wear an electronic ankle tag.

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