Yorkshire Carnegie v Aberavon: All change for Carnegie as Mercer targets overdue form

ROMANIAN international winger Stephen Hihetah is set for his Yorkshire Carnegie debut today after joining the club earlier this week.

The 23-year-old hopes to play against Aberavon in the British & Irish Cup Pool Two game at Hull Ionians, although Carnegie still require clearance for him to feature. Originally from Brent in London, the former London Scottish, Blackheath and Barking player qualifies for Romania through his mother.

Hihetah is looking to cement his place in their World Cup squad for next year – ex-Doncaster Knights coach Lynn Howells is in charge of Romania – and is initially included in a stronger Carnegie side to face Welsh opponents this afternoon.

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Gary Mercer had rested a raft of players for their opening two B&I Cup games – a loss at home to Rotherham Titans and last Friday’s win at Ulster – but most return for this contest.

With their crucial next Championship game against Rotherham in mind, the Kiwi is keen to now start developing some form after a disappointing start to the season.

Captain Ryan Burrows is among those back along with Pete Lucock, Jonah Holmes, Harry Leonard and Chris Pilgrim who all return after missing those initial fixtures.

Jack Walker and Paul Hill are named as replacements having trained with England Under-20s this week, while a couple of other youngsters will gain further experience by going out on dual-registration this weekend.

Nick Rawsthorne has joined Huddersfield RUFC and hopes to play at Otley in National 2 North this afternoon while Taylor Prell has also moved out.

“This is an important part of Nick’s development as a young player, looking to make his transition into the senior game,” said Academy director Andy Rock .

“Nick still lives over in Halifax, which made his move to Huddersfield a logical decision.

“The opportunity to also work with head coach Gareth Lewis and his staff will really benefit Nick in helping him achieve his goals with us at the Academy whilst also hopefully adding some value to their playing squad after their promotion back to the league last season.

“Taylor Prell has returned from a three-day camp with England U20s and will join Wharfedale for their game this weekend against Loughborough.

“Jack Walker and Paul Hill, also away with England this week, come straight back in on the bench against Aberavon.”