Yorkshire rivals add timely strength in depth

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Leeds Carnegie have signed Tongan World Cup prop Halani Aulika until the end of the season.

The 28-year-old, who can play at loose or tight head, made three appearances in the World Cup and played for the Highlanders in Super Rugby last season.

Head coach Diccon Edwards, whose side host Bedford tomorrow, said: “We are delighted to have secured a player of Halani’s quality as we enter a crucial part of the season.

“The fact that he can play on both sides of the front row is a major plus for us especially with Mike MacDonald and Phil Swainston currently out injured and Kane Palma-Newport having returned to Bath after his loan spell at the club.

“He will add a lot of experience to our squad as we look to build our momentum into the play-offs and our promotion drive.”

Leeds have also signed former Newcastle flanker Ed Williamson until the end of the season.

Andy Titterrell returns to the side following his loan spell at Sale and there is good news for Jonathan Pendlebury, who makes a welcome return to the side as a replacement, following a long layoff with illness and injury.

Brett Davey has brought in three players to strengthen his Doncaster Knights squad this week.

Lock Dan Smith returns to the club while Toby Berridge joins from Cambridge and Gareth Quinn-McDonagh from Munster.

They are timely recruitments with David McIlwaine, Tom Luke, Latu Makaafi and Tom Davies all out for the visit of Esher. There is good news though, with the return from a lengthy lay-off of fly-half and playmaker Mike Whitehead.

“They’ve given us a real lift this week,” said Davey of his new recruits. “They’re all long-term prospects with a lot of potential and they’ll push the club forward.”

Rotherham Titans have also been busy ahead of next week’s transfer deadline.

Andre Bester has signed two scrum-halves in 25-year-old Dale Farnham from Plymouth, and Danny Matthews, who played at Leeds Metropolitan University. Rotherham have also acquired flanker Tom Armes on a dual-registration deal from Leicester.

Bester has made a raft of changes for tomorrow’s trip to Bristol.

Former Wales international Colin Stephens has become the new head coach of National Three North side Bradford and Bingley, succeeding Martin Whitcombe who resigned as director of rugby.

Ex-Northampton and Otley player Phil Greaves has also taken a position within the Bees’ restructured management team.