The Vikings are pleased to welcome Wales international Rhodri Lloyd on board the longship, as the 30-year-old second-row/centre arrives on a two-year contract from Swinton Lions.
Winning 21 Wales caps across 10 years in the red jersey, Lloyd has featured at three Rugby League World Cups and been a regular in the Swinton team for the past eight seasons.
Rhodri is looking forward to the new challenge at Widnes: “I think it’s the right time for a change. I’ve been in several promotion and relegation battles between the divisions with Swinton, and wanted to be part of something different at the Vikings.
“I was here on loan from Wigan in 2014, but only played five games before rupturing my ACL. There’s been interest from the club since, and I feel now’s the time to make the switch. I can’t wait to play in front of the Vikings fans and test myself as we look to get back to Super League.”
Having played at Swinton for a number of years, Rhodri has built a strong relationship with incoming Chemics coaches Allan Coleman and Tom Wood. “They’re fantastic people who have worked their way to the top. With Swinton, they probably had the smallest budget in the league but have done a fantastic job to keep the club in the Championship.
“Allan and Tom always strive to create a strong team ethos, built on selflessness and working together. They’ve had to do a lot of that at Swinton, and having that environment can help us both on and off the pitch at Widnes.”
Head coach Allan is equally warm regarding Lloyd’s arrival at the DCBL Stadium, saying “Rhod is a player I’ve worked with for 5 years, and someone who will quickly become popular with players and fans.
“His work rate is up there with the best, and something I thought we needed at Widnes. He’s plays with his heart on his sleeve, and having players who will run through brick walls for the fans is exactly what we want.”
Bringing almost 300 professional appearances’ worth of experience to the Vikings pack, Rhodri feels well placed to become a leader at his new club. “I’ve gone up against some of the best in the world at three World Cups, so hopefully I can bring a good attitude that’ll help us gel as a squad.
“I want to hit the ground running and cement that week-to-week starting sport. I’m excited to be playing with Tom Gilmore and Joe Lyons; establishing those partnerships in the squad will form effective building blocks for the team.
“The play-offs are the biggest markers and have to be our minimum goal in 2024. For me though, it’s more about the journey than the destination. Let’s do all we can to get into the top 6, and from there, anything’s possible as London have shown this season.”
A change in clubs isn’t the only new addition for Rhodri in the next few months, who will soon become a father! “It’s all new for me at the moment”, he says, “and I’m taking every day as it comes. It’s a new environment on and off the pitch, but I’ve got plenty of support around me to help adapt to both the Vikings’ club culture and life as a dad.
“I’ve already bought a Widnes Babygro, so we’ll all be kitted out on matchdays and ready for the new season. I can’t wait to get started.”
We can’t wait to see Rhodri back in Widnes colours after 10 years either, and wish him and his family the warmest of welcomes to the Vikings family in 2024!