Sheffield Eagles swoop for fifth signing of close season

Matt James in action for Featherstone against Doncaster last season
Matt James in action for Featherstone against Doncaster last season
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Sheffield Eagles have signed Matt James from fellow Kingstone Press Championship side Featherstone Rovers.

The prop forward, who can play in the second row, has agreed a two-year full-time deal with the Eagles.

A Wales international, James is signing number five of the close season with more arrivals expected to follow before director of rugby Mark Aston calls his players back from their break on November 9.

James enjoyed a strong finish to the 2015 season with his two tries helping Rovers clinch the Championship Shield after a convincing 36-4 victory over London Broncos, and it was the form that the 28-year-old showed towards the conclusion of last season that persuaded Aston to move for the experienced operator.

“Matty will probably be disappointed with his year, but he did get much stronger towards the end,” Aston told The Star.

“He was very influential in Featherstone winning the final of the plate competition. He scored a couple of tries in that game and the one thing about Matt is that he will score tries. He has a bit of explosiveness in him, he is a threat and he also has offloads in his bag of tricks. He certainly brings with him a lot of experience to compliment some of the youngsters that we have brought in and we are all really looking forward to working with him.”

James boasts Super League experience on his CV after spells earlier in his career with the likes Bradford, London and briefly with Wakefield. He joined Featherstone in 2013 and last season played 24 times before being one of 16 departures as Rovers coach Jon Sharp looks to revamp his team

“There has never been any doubt about Matty’s ability, that’s why he has played at international level and that is why he played in Super League,” added Aston.

“People have questioned his fitness at times but hopefully coming into our environment we can improve that. He will certainly have a massive impact on our season. He has great passion and a great will to improve and that is what I am really looking forward to working with him on.

“People need to be happy where they are and I think with Matty this year what you will see is that he will have a smile in his face. Once players have a smile on their faces and they are enjoying themselves then you will get the best out of them.”