LEIGH Centurions have signed exciting Kiwi loose forward James Bell for the 2021 Betfred Championship season.

It is another huge signing for the ambitious Centurions, which shows they mean business.

Coach John Duffy, who was instrumental in bringing him to Leigh, hailed it as a sensational signing for the club.

The 26-year-old has played in the Championship with Toulouse Olympique since 2019 having begun his professional career with New Zealand Warriors.

He has also represented Scotland at international level five times.

Bell revealed it was relationship with Leigh Centurions Head Coach which was a deciding factor in making the move to the LSV.

He said: “I have built a really good relationship with John Duffy through my involvement with Scotland.

"I was so excited when he told me that there was a spot for me at Leigh Centurions. It’s lucky I stayed in touch with him!

“I know several of the Leigh squad already including Ben Hellewell and Junio Sa’u and knowing some of the boys will certainly help me fit in.

"I’ve never played at Leigh Sports Village before but everybody I’ve spoken to tell me it’s a top class facility and I can’t wait to get over there.”

Bell played 19 times for Toulouse in the Championship and while he enjoyed his time in France he is excited by the prospect of playing at Leigh. He said: “It was a major culture change for my partner and I when we moved to France and we had a son while I was there. It was a big lifestyle change and now I’m looking forward to another new experience.”

Bell has played the majority of his career at loose forward but also has experience in the second row.

As a junior with Papakura Sea Eagles he was spotted by New Zealand Warriors and became a key member of the under 20s team, playing in the 2014 Grand Final win over Brisbane Broncos. He made his NRL debut in 2017 against Cronulla Sharks.

Duffy said Bell was a huge signing for the Club.

He said: “James is a quality player and a quality person. He is a very humble man and totally dedicated to his goal of playing in Super League. I loved watching him during the World Cup – he’s a loose forward with great ball-playing ability.

“I’m very excited to have him at Leigh – he’s a player I’ve tried to sign before. He’s got great pass selection and gets through a lot of work, sometimes un-noticed. This is a sensational signing for us.”