Upwardly mobile Yorkshire Carnegie have secured livewire winger Jonah Holmes on a long-term contract.
The 22-year-old former Wasps product has been one of the leading try-scoring threats for Carnegie over the last 18 months.
And he has signed a three-year deal from next summer to remain at Headingley.
Holmes moved to Carnegie last season on loan from Premiership stalwarts Wasps.
He was then part of a swap deal that saw him return to Leeds – with fly-half Glyn Hughes moving in the opposite direction – at the start of this season.
The news is a real boost for Carnegie ahead of their mouthwatering clash with Worcester Warriors at Headingley on Saturday.
And it comes after a run of four straight wins that have lifted the malaise surrounding the club following a poor start and the departure of head coach Gary Mercer.
That latest win over Jersey on Saturday was arguably Carnegie’s biggest of the year.
Stand-in head coach Tommy McGee said: “Jonah is a quality player who has huge amount to offer the game and I am delighted he is going to do that with us.
“He made a massive impression on us last year but to get where we want to go and push for the play-offs we need that type of quality within our squad.
“We have seen over the last couple of weeks that he has the ability to break the line and kick out of the tackle, he can create something out of nothing and when games are tight that is an invaluable quality.
“He has a lot to still learn about the game; he is still a young man, but he is the type of player we want at the core of our squad moving forward.”
Director of rugby Chris Gibson added that players of Holmes’s ilk are key to the long-term vision for the future of Yorkshire Carnegie being fulfilled.
He said: “It is great news that Jonah has signed a three-year deal and he follows in the footsteps of our captain Ryan Burrows, who agreed a similar deal last year.
“There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to build our squad for the challenges ahead in the coming seasons and it is a very exciting time to be involved with Yorkshire Carnegie.”
Holmes has scored 22 tries in 34 appearances for the club including four tries in the British & Irish Cup win at Aberavon and two against Rotherham Titans the two weeks later.
He has scored once in the Championship.
Stockport-born Holmes, who can play on the wing or at full-back, said: “It has been difficult in the last 18 months as obviously I have been only on loan at Yorkshire Carnegie, you never know what the future might hold so it is a great relief to have agreed a long term deal and know where my future lies.
“We want to kick on this season and push once again for the play offs but, more than that, the plans the club has for the future are exciting and ambitious and I am looking forward to being part of that.”
Meanwhile, forward Richard Beck believes Carnegie can go into Saturday’s game with Worcester confident of victory despite the disparity between the two in league position, and the fact Yorkshire have yet to win at Headingley this season.
Beck said: “The atmosphere in the dressing room is good after the Jersey win.
“Worcester is going to be tough. But we’ve won the last four and we can look ahead to that game and testing ourselves against them.”