Yorkshire Carnegie have announced the signing of four new forwards for next season ahead of their crucial Greene King IPA Championship semi final first leg against Doncaster Knights this Sunday at Headingley Carnegie.
Back rower Richard Mayhew joins the club from Aviva Premiership side Newcastle Falcons on a two year contract. The 30-year-old Kiwi originally played for Esher in this country in 2010 before a move to Newcastle in the summer of 2011. An English qualified player, Mayhew has made over 70 appearances for the Falcons in four seasons.
He will be re-united at Headingley Carnegie next season with his brother Mike. The pair played together at Newcastle before Mike moved to London Irish and then returned to his native New Zealand to join Waikato. The 29-year-old hooker has signed a two year contract with Yorkshire Carnegie.
24-year-old prop Max Maidment joins from London Scottish, having spent two seasons with the Exiles after a spell at Cornish Pirates. He came through the Academy system at Bath having studied at Bath University. He has played for England Students. Originally from Haywards Heath in West Sussex, his elder brother Ben has also played in the Greene King IPA Championship with Cornish Pirates, Moseley and Jersey. He joins Yorkshire on a one year deal.
Finally Scottish Counties and former Scotland U20 hooker Ross Graham has joined on a two year contract from Hawick. The 20-year-old was identified by Head Coach Bryan Redpath and Forwards Coach Dave Baldwin as a player with outstanding potential. He appeared in all five of Scotland under-20s games in the 2015 Six Nations, starting in the number two shirt for three of the five games. He was included in the Scotland under-20 World Rugby Championship squad in 2015, and started in the 5th place semi-final against Australia.
Commenting on the signings Head Coach Bryan Redpath said, “We are delighted to have secured all four players for our squad for next season. Mike Mayhew is a big unit, which is a factor we have looked to improve in our set piece for next season. He has played in the Premiership with Newcastle and London Irish and so knows what the game is about over here and he is keen to come back from Waikato Chiefs because he enjoyed his time in England. He is English qualified and he adds another dimension to our group as a very physical player.
“His brother Richard joins us from the Falcons and has previously captained them. He can play all three positions in the back row and offers a real presence on the field. With Oli Stedman and Ryan Burrows, Richard offers size in the back row. We have had to rely on Ryan to play every game this year but ultimately we need competition to drive the whole group on in every position. He has leadership qualities and is desperate to come in and push to play every week. He will help us change our mindset and give us a hard edge.
“Max is an ambitious young prop who joins us looking to take the next step in his career progression. He has experience in the Championship and is maturing well in his position and looking to establish himself in the front row.
“Ross is a young man from Hawick who has been playing some tough rugby up there in the Scottish leagues. That league is tough for a front rower. He has a small stature but has the ambition and drive to test himself. He is a project for us but he is someone we feel has real potential that we can develop and nurture here at Yorkshire Carnegie. He comes into our environment with a point to prove having missed out on the Pro 12 teams and I am sure he will kick on in the next few years with us.
"My brother coaches in Scotland and has coached against him and I have also spoken to George Graham about him, as he has seen Ross whilst coaching at Gala and he says he is someone who could thrive in a full time environment. I am pleased he is committed to us. I know a lot of young players in Scotland want to stay north of the border and be involved at Glasgow and Edinburgh but there are only so many opportunities and I admire Ross' ambition and drive to come down to England and test himself,” added Redpath.