Leeds bolster squad with trio including ex-Knight McIlwaine

LEEDS CARNEGIE have signed three experienced players ahead of the new Championship season.

New Leeds Carnegie signing David McIlwaine seen playing for Doncaster Knights.

Ulster full-back David McIlwaine, Bristol hooker Ollie Hayes and London Welsh prop James Tideswell have all signed two-year deals and joined in on the first day of pre-season training earlier this week.

McIlwaine, who previously played with Doncaster Knights, said: “It is great to be back here in Yorkshire. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Doncaster and it was a big call to go back home when I joined Ulster last season.

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“However, I am excited about the future at Leeds Carnegie and the chance to be part of this squad is something I am really looking forward to.”

Hayes was part of the Bristol squad which finished top of last season’s Championship but missed out on promotion after defeat to Welsh.

He has had two spells at the Memorial Ground either side of a spell in the Premiership with Worcester. “I was impressed by the vision that Chris Gibson and Sir Ian McGeechan have for the club,” said the 24-year-old.

“I was on the bench for Bristol when we lost to Leeds in December and I remember thinking what a fantastic style the team played with and it is exciting to be part of that now.”

Tideswell, 31, helped Welsh earn promotion and is now looking to do the same with Leeds, who are still seeking a new head coach following James Lowes’s surprise switch to Bradford Bulls last week.

“The Championship is extremely competitive, especially in the forwards,” said Tideswell, who is looking forward to working with forwards coach Tommy McGee. “I have already had a number of chats with Tommy and I like his outlook on the game and the things he is looking to implement.”