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Leeds Carnegie call off search for hooker

Leeds director of rugby Andy Kay
Key's Leeds currently lie bottom of the Premiership

Leeds director of rugby Andy Key says the club are scaling back their search for a new hooker.

In November, injuries and unavailability forced Leeds into selecting conditioning coach James Parkes for the LV= Cup defeat by Sale.

But Steve Thompson has now returned from England duty and Scott Freer is back in action after knee surgery.

Key told BBC Radio Leeds: "If all goes well then all our problems regarding a hooker will have solved themselves."

He added: "We are gently bringing Scott back in and he'll spend time at Otley.

During England's autumn internationals, Leeds were left with Phil Nilsen as their only fit senior hooker.

With Andy Titterell out for the season with damaged knee ligaments and academy hookers Freer and Harry Hannan missing with their serious long-term injuries, Parkes had to come out of a three-year retirement to cover the position.

We'd like to think if all those boxes get ticked then our hooking problems will be over

Andy Key

That led the Premiership club to begin a search for a new signing, with Key saying that they had "a few hookers in mind".

But, with Thompson's return and Freer back in training, Key now believes it is unlikely that a new face will arrive at Headingley.

"Scott will start this week in the A League game [against Leicester Tigers] and will be playing at Otley too.

"We'd like to think if all those boxes get ticked then our hooking problems will be over."

There is also good news regarding second-row Sean Hohneck's ankle injury.

The New Zealander has only managed two starts and two substitute appearances for Leeds since his summer move from Italian club Viadana.

"Things are going really well with Sean now. He's out of the medical book now and is on the mend," said Key.

"His rehab is going very well, he's starting to run now and he should be back in the early part of the year."

Meanwhile, Leeds will be without flanker Kearnan Myall for Sunday's European Challenge Cup game with Crociati at Headingley because of the leg injury he picked up in the defeat at Harlequins.

However, captain Marco Wentzel is available after recovering from a similar knock picked up in the same game.



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