NILSEN THRIVES ON PRESSURE

Phil Nilsen has said that he is the kind of player to thrive on pressure that comes as the result of being the important member in the Leeds team. With Steve Thompson on England duty and Andy Titterell injured, the 25-year-old has quickly risen from third choice hooker to number one.

Nilsen told BBC Radio Leeds: “I feel there is added pressure on me to perform to the standards Thommo and Titts set.

“That’s bringing out the best in me and actually helping me.”

BACK HAILS LEEDS DEBUTANTS

Leeds coach Neil Back says that Lewis-Pratt and Tincknell could become the new stars for team this season. Fly-half Lewis-Pratt, 19, and centre Tinknell, 22, impressed on their debuts in the 22-21 defeat at Gloucester.

“Christian showed great maturity in his game management. He knows what he needs to work on and he will continue to improve,” Back told BBC Radio Leeds.

MACKAY EXPECTING TOUGH SEASON

Leeds Carnegie’s Mackay says that he is expecting his toughest season ever. Speaking to Wales Rugby Hospitality, the Australian, 27, along with fellow Leeds new signing Steve Thompson, moved from French club Brive in the summer, where MacKay had spent two seasons.

“In the Premiership, every game is a hard slog, there just isn’t an easy game,” Mackay told BBC Radio Leeds.

“Whereas in the Top 14 you can have an off day and probably still beat one or two of the lower teams.”

LEEDS SNAP UP TADULALA

Leeds Carnegie director of rugby Andy Key believes Semi Tadulala’s “burning desire” to succeed at rugby union will work in his side’s favour.

Leeds have agreed a two-year deal with the dual-code international after he failed to make an impact at Gloucester.

Having switched codes in 2009 after successful stints with Wakefield and Bradford, the Fijian winger made just two appearances for the Cherry and Whites.

However Key believes the 32-year-old Tadulala has what it take to be a success in the 15-a-side game.

LEEDS SNAP UP STEPHENSON

Leeds Carnegie have made their first major signing of the summer, capturing Bath winger Michael Stephenson.

The 29-year-old, who has won three England caps, has signed a two-year deal and arrives at Headingley after making 93 appearances for Bath.

“I think my time had come here (at Bath), I wanted to play a bit more rugby, so went to look at other options,” he told BBC Radio Leeds. I was impressed with Leeds, they have big plans for the future.”