By Gareth James
Wales RL U16 international Lewis Pinder has signed U19 forms with Super League club Wigan Warriors.
The Wrexham-born player’s signing is seen as a boost in getting more players from North Wales into the elite league.
Pinder began rugby league at Wrexham Bradley Raiders, where he was coached by now Wales Wheelchair RL head coach Steve Jones and his son, the current Wales Wheelchair RL international Harry Jones.
The 17-year-old moved to Wigan St Judes two years ago where he was coached by Mark Freeman, plus the former Wales men’s international Dave Whittle.
It was while playing for the Wigan club that he was selected for Wales U16 by head coach Lee Crooks, playing against England in 2019.
Pinder joins his Wales U16 team-mate, Kyle Huish, who is a year older, at the Warriors U19 set-up.
“Lewis came into the squad as a 15-year-old and had a background in rugby league which always helps,” said Crooks.
“He stood out for a number of reasons, but his pace and ability to recognise and react to different situations put him in front of other players.
“He was a very coachable lad and I hope he goes a long way in the game.”
North Wales Origin RL chairman Conrad Anderson said: “It’s really pleasing to see Lewis progress and sign for Super League team Wigan.
“His signing really shows how the North Wales pathway is working and demonstrates to the current and any future players with similar aspirations that you can achieve your dream.
“This fantastic news provides everyone involved with huge satisfaction. We hope this is the start of many more signings of players from Wrexham and the wider North Wales region.”