Leeds Rhinos utility player Jimmy Keinhorst has joined Widnes Vikings on a four-week loan deal.
Keinhorst has not played since the knee injury he suffered against the Vikings in February, when Leeds were beaten 23-6 at the Halton Stadium.
The German international has found himself down the pecking order at Leeds in 2018, despite scoring a hat-trick in the round 2 win over Hull KR at Elland Road. Ash Handley has excelled in the left centre position, and Leeds are also well covered at second row with Stevie Ward and Brett Ferres recently returning from injury to support Brett Delaney and Carl Ablett, while Josh Walters has also come back into the first-team picture in recent weeks.
Widnes’ injury problems have been well publicised throughout the season, so Keinhorst’s arrival will bring plenty of quality and Super League experience to a squad that is currently lacking in numbers, so much so that the Vikings could be without as many as 9 first team players for tonight’s clash with Hull FC.
Keinhorst will join up with Dennis Betts’ squad on Monday ahead of their Challenge Cup fixture with Coventry Bears on April 21st, however, he will not be available for that game after Widnes accepted Leeds’ request not to play him as he would then be cup-tied and unavailable for the Rhinos in later rounds of the competition.
Therefore, his first game is likely to be against Wigan on the 27th April, followed by a trip to fellow strugglers Huddersfield a week later.
On his move, Keinhorst said: “I’m excited to be linking up with Widnes Vikings on this loan spell. I have found my opportunities limited at Leeds Rhinos recently since my knee injury, and I’m eager to play regularly and show what I can do. I’ll be joining Widnes Vikings at a time when they are a little short with injuries, so this is a really positive opportunity for all parties.
“Widnes Vikings are a team that I’ve got real respect for. I’ve enjoyed playing against the Vikings in the past – they’re a tough team and have great supporters. I am looking forward to working hard for the team and hopefully helping them to pick up points in the upcoming games.”
Dennis Betts commented: “We are grateful to Leeds for allowing us to take Jimmy on loan. Jimmy is an outside back and utility player, who offers solid experience and proven quality. Having lost a number of our outside backs to injury recently, his addition to the squad will give us a real boost.”
Rhinos coach Brian McDermott praised the move as one that works for both Leeds and the player, before going on to say that Keinhorst is a “very popular player and a very good player and he certainly has a future here.”