OLDHAM’S ex-England rugby union international Kyle Eastmond says both the time and place were right for him to make his return to rugby league.

The former the Radclyffe School pupil and Oldham St Annes player enjoyed a whirlwind start to his career, playing for St Helens in the 2009 Grand Final and helping England reach the 2009 Four Nations final, both at the age of 20.

He then spent the next nine years in the 15-man code with Bath, Wasps and Leicester and played for England in 2013 and 2014 but left the Tigers last July after reportedly refusing to take a pay cut and is now back in Super League after signing a two-year deal with Leeds Rhinos.

“It happened quite quickly,” the 31-year-old said. “I’m over the moon really and looking forward to it.”

Eastmond says he had options to stay in the Gallagher Premiership as well as moving to France, and turned down previous offers from Super League clubs.

“There were a few occasions when I gave it some serious thought but I think now is the right time, just as it was the right time for me to go all those years ago,” he said.

“I feel I’ve achieved the goals I set out to do and now a new challenge is what I need at this time of my career.

“It was a pretty easy decision, within a few conversations I knew this was the right place to come back to.”

Eastmond will link up with director of rugby Kevin Sinfield, an England team-mate from 2009 and fellow Oldhamer.

He will help plug the gap created by the loss of stand-off Robert Lui, as well as full-back Jack Walker, to long-term injuries on the eve of the new season but insisted he was not going to be a stop-gap signing.

Sinfield said: “With the injury to Rob Lui, we have been keen to boost our options in the half-back position and I’m sure Kyle will excel in our environment.

“We have been speaking over the last week and I know he had a number of options both in England and overseas to continue his rugby union career.

“The fact he is coming back to league is great news for us and the Super League competition.”