Leeds Carnegie have announced the signing of scrum half Chris Pilgrim, 28, and centre James Fitzpatrick, 26, on two year contracts from the 2014-15 season onwards from Aviva Premiership side Newcastle Falcons.
Fitzpatrick is likely to join up with his new club this month on loan when he overcomes a current injury for the remainder of the Greene King IPA Championship as Leeds look to cement their place in the top four play offs.
Chris Pilgrim joined Newcastle Falcons from Nottingham Rugby in the summer of 2009. The scrum-half had previously played for Loughbrough University, and has represented England at Students and Counties levels, where he worked with Carnegie Assistant Forwards coach Dave Baldwin. After starting the first two RFU Championship matches last season for the Falcons of the 2012-13 season, Pilgrim's season was cut short after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament at London Scottish. Testament to his dedication and commitment, Pilgrim got himself back in contention for selection for the end of season play-offs and the successful promotion, appearing on the bench for the first leg of the semi final at Headingley Carnegie.
Fitzpatrick joined the Falcons in the summer of 2010. Born and raised in South Shields, Fitzpatrick broke through at local club Westoe, before scoring 13 tries in 22 games for Blaydon during the 2009-10 campaign. Earning an England Counties call-up later that year, also working with Dave Baldwin, Fitzpatrick was then brought on board full-time for the Falcons ahead of the 2010-11 campaign has featured eight times this season in the Premiership.
Commenting on the signings, Director of Rugby Chris Gibson said, "We are delighted to have signed two players of the proven quality of Chris and James. We have been monitoring both over a long period and had great reports on not just their abilities on the field but their attitude off the field, which is an important factor for us. James is currently recovering from an injury but has been registered to join up with us on loan when fit for the remainder of the season and I know that Chris is already excited about next season and being part of our group.”