Warrior Lloyd may pitch in at centre

Wigan's Rhodri Lloyd on debut in the game against Widnes Vikings
Wigan's Rhodri Lloyd on debut in the game against Widnes Vikings

JACK Hughes may not be the only forward switched to the centres this season.

Shaun Wane is mulling over the possibility of Welsh prospect Rhodri Lloyd playing in the three-quarters.

All three of Lloyd’s appearances in the first-team last year came in his familiar second-row position.

But he trained with the backs when Wigan started skills sessions at their warm-weather camp in Florida, and may follow Hughes – handed the No.4 shirt as George Carmont’s successor – in competing for a centre spot in 2013.

Wane said: “Rhodri coped really well running in the centres in Florida.

“We had him at backrow and at centre, and he’ll play some games this year – maybe at centre, maybe at second-row.”

Lloyd’s path to a second-row spot is blocked by the considerable presence of Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Liam Farrell and Chris Tuson.

And with Anthony Gelling swelling the second-row ranks following an off-season move from the backs, Lloyd would fall further down the pecking order.

A fluent Welsh-speaker from Caerphilly – he went to Ydgol Gfon Cwm Rhynnd high school – the 19-year-old surfaced on Wigan’s radar when he impressed for Crusaders’ academy side.

He enjoyed a dream debut against Leeds last June, seizing his chance when Hock, Hansen and Tuson were ruled out through injury or suspension.

Yet Wane’s men thumped the champions 50-8 and Lloyd basked in the victory alongside Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand in the dressing room.

He made two more appearances that month – against Widnes and Bradford – before slipping out of the frame, but benefited from involvement for Wales in the end of season international series against England and France.

Wane added: “He benefited from being exposed to a high level of competition.

“I see him as a quality first-team player and his desire to learn and improve is fantastic.”