WIDNES Vikings' England Academy international Sam Walters, 18, and loose forward Jarrod O’Connor, 17, have joined Leeds Rhinos for an undisclosed fee.

These are the first, but will not be the last players to leave Widnes following this week's events.

Although the club was rescued yesterday when a consortium agreed a deal with the administarators to take the club forward, it will mean some players and staff will be let go.

Some players have taken to social media to say their goodbyes, but full extent of those departures will become clearer today.

The first confirmed exits have been the two starlets.

Walters impressed as part of the historic England Academy side that defeated the Australian Schoolboys in both Tests at the end of 2018, with the series clinching win coming at Emerald Headingley.

Walters started both Tests against the tourists.

His call up to the national side was reward for an outstanding couple of seasons in the Vikings U19s side as a hard running, tough tackling back rower having signed for Widnes from Halton Farnworth Hornets and attended Sts Peter and Paul Catholic College.

O’Connor is the son of former Great Britain international Terry O’Connor and played his junior rugby at Halton Farnworth Hornets.

Having attended Wade Deacon School he joined the Vikings when he was 16 and has been a regular in the club’s Under 19s team in the last two years.