10th October 2017, 19:55
HORNETS LAND LEPORI FOR 2018
Rochdale Hornets have signed Richard Lepori from Oldham for the 2018 Championship season.
Rochdale Hornets have signed utility back Richard Lepori from rivals Oldham for the 2018 Championship season.
After representing the Roughyeds 68 times, he makes his move to The Crown Oil Arena following relegation in 2017.
He revealed that interest in him started last season, before he finally signed for Hornets ahead of the new campaign after hearing Alan Kilshaw’s plans.
“I’ve nearly signed for Rochdale a couple of times, there’s been a bit of interest in the last couple of years,” Lepori admitted.
“Last year I spoke to Alan before I got back into rugby league, but it wasn’t to be and I re-joined Oldham.
“Obviously we got relegated this year, and a week after Alan was on the phone and I gave him the courtesy of meeting up.
“I liked what I heard and made my mind up then really.
“He took me over to the Padgate campus to see the barn, gym and video room all in one place.
“That’s one of the main reasons I joined really, especially with the gym and the barn, I’m really looking forward to getting bigger, faster and stronger in there.”
Lepori feels that with the signings made, and with their performances in 2017, Rochdale can go from strength to strength in the new season.
“I think the club did well in their first year in the Championship.
“There were a couple of close loses and they got some good wins.
“The sort of questions I asked Alan was where he wants to go from here, and everything he said was positive.
“Some of the signings that have been made already are going to improve the side, I know Toby (Adamson) really well and the likes of Gaz Middlehurst have been re-signed.
“It all seems positive and I’m looking forward to getting into it.”
An injury limited him to 15 appearances last season, however he still managed to cross for nine tries, two of which came against the Hornets at the Summer Bash.
That wasn’t enough to save Oldham from relegation though, which was tough for Lepori, but he is looking to have an injury free 2018 for his new club.
“As you can imagine it is a team I care about, and I have a lot of good friends there and I got on with the coaches really well,” he continued.
“It was tough for me personally because I got a bad injury and I missed about 12 weeks. It’s hard to watch as your team are doing poorly, but I did survive the year before which has put me in good stead I suppose.
“I want to play as much as I can, and I’d like to get a full season under my belt without any niggles which I’m hopefully able to do at Rochdale. I’m confident of that.”
Before meeting up with his new team mates, the 25-year-old is heading to Australia to represent Italy in the World Cup.
“I fly out this weekend, I am really, really excited.
“I know Matty (Hadden) is playing for Ireland so there will be a couple of us going out there.
“I’m looking forward to it but I’ve had a bit of a nightmare last minute, I’ve sorted all my visas but my passport is up in six months.
“I’ve got to get a new one sorted in Liverpool on Wednesday, and hopefully after that it’ll all be smooth sailing.”
Once his international duties are over it will be time to link up with his new team mates at Rochdale as pre-season begins.
Although he is familiar with most of the squad, he is looking forward to getting to know them personally.
“I’ve spoken to Killer about possibly having a week off when I get back, but knowing me I’ll probably want to get straight back into it.
“I’m looking forward to meeting some of the lads, but obviously I already know a lot of them through playing with them or against them.
“I’m not really a stranger to the Rochdale lads I don’t think, and it will be good to be linking up with them and getting to know them so we can work well together. “
Kilshaw is delighted to have finally got his man, and is especially pleased to have a player with such versatility across the back line.
“Richard has primarily been signed to play on the wing, and with him on one edge and Rob Massam on the other we can look forward to some exciting tries,” he commented.
“His utility value and ability to play fullback is also a huge bonus for us.
“He has proved to be an outstanding Championship player and we will look forward to working with him once he has played in the World Cup.”
Early bird prices are now available on season tickets for the forthcoming campaign, so make sure you BACK THE TEAM IN 2018 by taking advantage of this limited time offer. For more info on how to purchase your season ticket, and for prices click here.