Outside back James Clare is delighted to have signed a new two-year contract extension with hometown club Castleford Tigers.
The 27-year old winger re-joined the Tigers at the start of the 2018 season and has impressed coach Daryl Powell and his staff to earn an extended deal until at least the end of the 2020 season.
This year, Clare, despite spending two months on the sidelines with a broken bone in his leg, has made eight appearances for Castleford, scoring four tries and coming up with some big defensive plays.
He could not be happier to be staying with his hometown club, saying: “I’m extremely happy and ecstatic to sign this new deal with Castleford.
“Growing up it was my dream to play for the Tigers and to have played this long already for them is great, then to add another two years on top of that I’m in heaven.
“When I left the club a couple of years ago, I always wanted to come back but since leaving the club I’ve not only learnt a lot as a player but as a person and since I’ve come back I feel like I’ve been ready for the challenge and better for the club.”
Clare came through the Tigers Academy ranks before making his first team debut in 2012 against Huddersfield Giants. He has gone on to make over 40 appearances for the Tigers in his two stints with the club.
In 2016, he enjoyed a great season in the Championship with Bradford, scoring 18 times during 23 games for the Bulls. Following Bradford’s financial issues, Clare moved to Leigh Centurions for the 2017 season but suffered a horrific ACL injury during a pre-season game against Dewsbury and missed most of the season. The winger returned during the Super 8s and showed that he still had a nose for the try line, scoring six times in just five games.
Tigers coach, Daryl Powell is looking forward to working with ‘Sticks’ for the next couple of seasons.
He said: “James has done a great job since he has come back from injury.
He started the season pretty well but has gone to another level in his last two performances and I’m confident he will continue to improve and play his best rugby over the next two years and afterwards.
“With that in mind I’m delighted he has agreed a two year deal to stay with us and look forward to continuing to work with him.”
Castleford director of rugby Jon Wells added: “I am delighted that we have secured James’ signature for the next two years.
“‘Sticks’ is an example of a player who has progressed in our system and is now beginning to realise his potential. He is an intelligent athlete, a durable athlete and a committed athlete who is looking to nail down a starting wing spot for 2019.
He has some tough competition for either of those places, but hearing him talk in this way and then backing up that talk with the performances we have seen from him recently has really impressed all the coaching staff at the Tigers.
“As importantly, however, is that James is a good person who has and holds values and respect for those around him. These qualities are what we look for in all our players and staff. He has no ego, he is focussed fully on the next steps he needs to take in his career and we are all very much looking forward to seeing him achieve those goals with Castleford Tigers.”