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Warrington Wolves youngster backed for breakthrough year

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SAM Burgess, the head coach of Warrington Wolves, has expressed his confidence in the young scrum-half Leon Hayes, stating that Hayes is “very close” to securing a consistent place in the first-team squad. Burgess hinted at the possibility of retaining Hayes within the first-team setup rather than sending him out on loan periodically.

Hayes, a 19-year-old homegrown talent, has impressed in his three appearances in the Super League so far, leading to suggestions among the Wire fanbase that he could become George Williams’ preferred half-back partner for the 2024 season. However, it seems that the more experienced Josh Drinkwater is likely to start alongside Williams at the beginning of the campaign.

What Sam Burgess has said about Leon Hayes' first-team prospects - Yahoo  Sport

Despite this, Warrington has established a dual-registration agreement with Widnes Vikings, potentially allowing Hayes to gain experience through semi-regular Championship rugby. Burgess acknowledges this possibility but suggests that he may prefer to keep a close eye on Hayes’ development within the Warrington setup.

Burgess praised Hayes for his performance, describing him as a “great little player” with impressive defensive abilities despite his stature. He emphasized the importance of developing Hayes gradually without putting too much pressure on him.

Regarding the decision on whether to send Hayes out on loan or utilize the dual-registration arrangement, Burgess stated that no decision had been made yet. However, he indicated a preference for retaining Hayes within the Warrington squad if it would aid his progression, highlighting Hayes’ proximity to breaking into the first-team squad as a significant factor in the decision-making process.

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