Doncaster Knights are delighted to announce the signing of Australian utility back James Kane for the 2020/21 campaign.

The 24-year-old signs having most recently represented NSW Country Eagles in the National Rugby Championship (NRC); Australia’s top domestic competition below Super Rugby.

Capable at fullback, on the wing or in midfield Kane offers versatility as well as an extensive skill set. Inbound Director of Rugby Steve Boden says he’s a player he’s excited to bring into the group. “James is a fantastic signing for us, we’ve done plenty of research on him and, first and foremost, I’m confident we’re getting a good team man.

“His ability to make good decisions under pressure and read the game a step or two ahead is what brought James to our attention; he’s a very smart footballer.”

James was key for Sydney University as they won back-to-back Shute Shields in 2018 and 2019 – his goal kicking a particular feature.

James finished the 2019 Shute Shield campaign with a goal kicking success rate of 86.4% as well as gaining a reputation as the best penalty for touch kicker in the competition, able to kick effectively off both feet.

Born in Ascot (UK), Kane was a keen footballer as a youngster and continued to play after moving to Australia.

Boden believes that a move back to England with the Knights provides an idyllic environment for the skillful outside back to flourish. “With James being English qualified it’s a great opportunity for him to test himself in the Northern Hemisphere and we’re very excited to be working with him.

“Let’s make sure he gets the warmest of welcomes when he arrives at Doncaster.”

Having left England for Australia 12 years ago, the move back to the UK is a big one for the 2019 Shute Shield Roscoe Fay Trophy winner but James says he can’t wait to touch down on Yorkshire soil. “I am beyond excited to start a new chapter with Doncaster Knights and looking forward to the challenge of a different style of rugby.

“Doncaster has a very successful history in English rugby and to be able to return to the UK under the guidance of Bodes [Steve Boden] is a very special opportunity.

“Making the decision to cross the pond isn’t one I’ve taken lightly but having spoken to a few of the current players, and players who have made the jump before me and I’m certain in my choice.

“From what I’ve heard Doncaster is a great club and, more importantly, has a strong community akin to the one we have at Sydney Uni.”

SUFC Head Coach, Robert Taylor commented on the move. “This is thoroughly deserved move for James, he has been an integral part of our playing style and he has more often than not heavily influenced games with his strengths. He will be missed by the team and Club.”

“That makes 8 players from the 2019 squad who have gone on to sign professional contracts, which is great recognition for the work the players have put in and the opportunities SUFC can provide.