Palma-Newport signs up for temporary role with Leeds

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Leeds Carnegie have recruited highly-rated Premiership prop Kane Palma-Newport on a one-month loan deal.

The 21-year-old from Bath is a tackle-happy tighthead prop who goes straight into the squad for Leeds’s trip to promotion-rivals Bristol on Sunday.

“He’s with us for a month as we look for a full-time replacement in what is a vulnerable position for us,” said head coach Diccon Edwards.

“He could be our full-time replacement because the deal is initially for a month.

“However it turns out, we need a scrummager in what is a tough scrummaging league.

“But Kane also brings mobility and a ball-carrying potential.

“And he is relishing the opportunity, particularly with his first game down at Bristol, in an area of the country where he’s familiar.

“We have used (Bath director of rugby) Ian McGeechan’s links with Yorkshire to good effect in sealing this deal.”

Palma-Newton has played a handful of games for Bath, including a wrecking-ball of a performance against Newcastle earlier this season.

Leeds’s trip to Bristol pits together the two teams best-equipped to meet the entry criteria for promotion to the Premiership.

Bristol are top and unbeaten at the Memorial Ground, but Leeds have won their last seven in the league after a dismal start, and are now just nine points off top spot.

Edwards is targeting a top-four finish to send his team into the round-robin promotion play-offs with a points advantage.

But on the run they are on, it would be an ominous marker to lay down if they were to go and win the division in the regular season.

Edwards said: “It would be of benefit to us to finish in the top four because of the advantage it gives you going into the play-offs.

“We have talked this week about the statement we can make in Sunday’s game.

“We are very focused on the next three games (Bristol, Cornish Pirates and Doncaster).

“We believe when we perform to what we are capable of we are a match for those top teams.

“And going down to Bristol offers us the chance to make that statement.

“The run we are on has given us the mentality now that we go down to Bristol expecting to win.”

As is the norm for a side with the wind in their sails, practically all players within weeks of fitness are putting their hands up for selection.

Jonathan Pendlebury is the latest to leap off the treatment table and back into Edwards’s thoughts, following a run out in the A-team earlier this week.

Sunday’s game may come too early for the Rotherham-born lock but Edwards does have a strong squad from which to select.

“This has been the hardest week we have had in terms of selecting a team for the next challenge,” said the head coach.

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