Leeds Tykes

Leeds Tykes

For the basketball team, see Leeds Carnegie (basketball). For the ladies football team, see Leeds Carnegie L.F.C..
Leeds Carnegie
Full name Leeds Carnegie Rugby Union Football Club
Founded 1991;  (1991)
Ground(s) Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Headingley, Leeds, England (Capacity: 21,000[1])
Chairman Professor Simon Lee
Coach(es) England Diccon Edwards
Captain(s) England Jacob Rowan
League(s) Greene King IPA Championship
2012–13 4th (SF)
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Leeds Carnegie (formerly Leeds Tykes) are an English rugby union club, based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, currently playing in the RFU Championship. In recent years, they have bounced between the Premiership and the second-level National Division One, now known as the RFU Championship; they were either promoted or relegated in four consecutive seasons starting in 2006. Leeds were relegated from the Premiership as bottom finishers in 2006, promoted as National Division One champions in 2007, relegated again from the Premiership in 2008, and promoted a second time as National Division One champions in 2009. They managed to stay in the Premiership in the 2009–10 season, which helped to secure their financial future; starting with the 2010–11 season, they will become a full shareholder in Premier Rugby, the company behind the Premiership. In 2009–10, they only received 60% of a full share of Premiership revenues.[2]

From 1998 through to the end of the 2006–07 season, the club used the name Leeds Tykes, but on 14 May 2007 it was announced that Leeds Metropolitan University would buy a 51% stake in the club and change the name to fit with the university's sport department, Carnegie College.[3][4] At the end of the 2008–09 season, ownership of the club passed back into the hands of Leeds Rugby.


Headingley & Roundhay

Headingley has a tradition of rugby which started back in 1877, after several youngsters became interested in rugby after watching Leeds St. John's, later to become the Leeds Rhinos rugby league team. Their first game was in November against the Saints second team. Union was centred around a church club. The original rugby union team was Leeds St John's and it played at the Militia Barracks ground before moving to Cardigan Fields. The Headingley name was adopted in 1878 and Cardigan Fields was used for both rugby and cricket. On 5 January 1884, England played Wales there and won 5–3 with a crowd in the region of 2,000 in attendance. The club playing there was then disbanded but was re-formed again in 1885 under the auspices of the Headingley Hill Chapel Sunday Class and played matches on local fields against local teams, including Roundhay.

In 1888 the Cardigan Estate was sold at auction and Lot 17a was purchased by a group of Leeds citizens, who intended to form the city's leading sports club. Lot 17a became what is now Headingley Stadium. Leeds St John's played their final season under that name in 1889–90, before becoming the football section of Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Company Ltd the following season. With Headingley still being completed, Leeds' first game was staged at Cardigan Fields, the home side defeating Otley. The first game at Headingley was played on 20 September 1890, when Manningham were beaten by one try and one dropped goal to nil. Leeds were founder members of the Northern Union when it broke away from the Rugby Football Union in 1895. Leeds' début in the Northern Union was a 6–3 victory at Leigh on 7 September 1895, the inaugural day of the new competition.

The development of the playing fields into the Headingley ground was down to the visionary Lord Hawke, who was behind the creation of the Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Company and the purchase of lot 17A of the Cardigan Estate. (Lord Hawke captained England and Yorkshire at cricket). However, this saw the demise of the Leeds club which split into two. The part that was to become the Rugby League club in 1895-6 stayed at the Headingley ground and Headingley RUFC was reborn in 1891, eventually finishing up in 1902 in Clarence Fields, Kirkstall. Two other internationals were played in Leeds before the split between Union and League, against Ireland and Scotland, both ending in defeat.

In 1889, Headingley was disbanded when Leeds St. John's moved into the area, built Headingley Stadium and dropped the St. John's from their name. However, Headingley bounced back and found fixtures outside Yorkshire, in 1901 their fixture list including a game against the famous Blackheath Rugby Club. Roundhay were formed in 1924 and moved to their ground at Chandos Park in the 1930s. Forty internationals have played for one team or the other perhaps the best known being Peter Winterbottom, Ian McGeechan and Chris Rea, who played for Headingley. Former Scotland coach Frank Hadden also had a spell at Headingley, where his and McGeechan's playing paths crossed, at the tail end of his career. Brian Moore played for Roundhay before his move down to Nottingham and his selection for England.

Leeds RUFC

Leeds RUFC was founded in 1991 after the merger of Roundhay and Headingley; Morley RFC were invited to be part of the Leeds set-up but declined the invitation. The new club played their first match on 1 September 1992 against Hull Ionians. The first try of the newly founded Leeds RUFC was scored by Glynn Thompson, previously of Roundhay. Richard Cardus, Bev Dovey, Denis Wilkins and Keith Smith all won international caps while in the Roundhay ranks. Smith featured in England's first full tour of Australia in 1975, but had to return home injured and Wilkins, who was also in the Royal Navy, won 13 caps, between 1951–53. When the amalgamation came in 1991–92 both clubs were in National Division Three. The proposed league re-organisation made it logical that the two clubs should become Leeds RUFC, especially as professionalism was in the air as a result of what was going on in the Southern Hemisphere. So it turned out to be a far-sighted move. However, it was an unpopular one with the Headingley faithful, the club with the longer history which had struggled through the Northern clubs breakaway from the Rugby Union in 1893. But later events proved it justified.

In the first season in National Three, Leeds finished 6th, but League reorganisation put the club in National Division Four, with finishes of 6th, 6th and 5th in 1995–96. The extent of the club's ambition became evident in the following season in finishing 3rd, scoring 1,209 points in thirty games, with the former England ‘A’ outside-half Gerry Ainscough scoring 307 points, and the ex-Scotland 'A' utility back Mark Appleson scoring sixteen tries. In 1997–98, promotion was made from the newly formed Jewson One to Premiership Two, finishing runners-up to Worcester. The Tongan Sateki Tuipulotu scored a then club record 322 points.

Leeds Tykes

In July 1998, the club would again amalgamate this time with Leeds Rhinos to form Leeds Rugby Limited. Leeds RUFC would also take on a new name and when they entered the 1998 Allied Dunbar Premiership Two competition, that of the Leeds Tykes.

The Tykes finished 6th in their first season in Premiership Two with the Tongan scoring 250 points and Simon Middleton and Jonathan Scales scoring ten tries apiece. Since 1996 the Tykes have played at Leeds Rhinos' Headingley stadium and Phil Davies became their player-coach. In their first season, they finished 8th in the old twelve team fourth division. They were renamed Leeds Tykes in 1998 when Leeds Rugby Ltd was formed, merging the Rhinos and Tykes under one umbrella. Since then they have climbed through the divisions and were promoted to the Premiership in 2001. In gaining promotion Richard Le Bas scored 337 points and Graham Mackay, a product of Leeds Rhinos, scored 19 tries, both club season records still extant.

Again in 2001, Tom Palmer became the first ever Leeds Tykes player to be capped for England when he appeared as a replacement against the United States. The members of the Leeds Tykes team for their first ever game in the Premiership on 2 September 2001 against Bath were Shelley, Holt, Wring, C. Murphy, Palmer, Mather, Ponton, Fea'unati, Benton, Bachop, Emmerson, Woof, Mayer, Scarbrough, Benson. The replacements were Hogg for Mather (74), Davies for Fea'unati (75), Kerr for Fea'unati (26), O'Reilly for Mayer (73), Fea'unati for Kerr (33). Not used were Luffman, Clarke, Le Bas.

The Tykes survived their first season after finishing bottom of the league when the National League One champions were denied entry into the Premiership in 2002 (Champions Rotherham Titans were refused promotion to the Zurich Premiership for the 2002–03 season due to facilities failing to meet Premiership criteria). The next season Leeds finished fifth in the table and made their Heineken Cup début in December 2003. In their four seasons in the Zurich Premiership, they finished an average ninth and had reached a couple of domestic cup semi-finals.

In 2005, they were mid-table by early November, but at the turn of the year, following injuries to key players, they were bottom of the Zurich Premiership and some way adrift of their rivals. Despite the threat of relegation, they somehow made it to their first ever Powergen Cup final. They faced Bath who were top of the table and had never been beaten in a cup final. Leeds were attempting to end Bath's perfect record in domestic cup finals. The West country giants won all 10 of the showpieces they contested between 1984 and 1996. They started favourites for an 11th triumph as they returned to Twickenham for their first final for nine years. But Leeds recorded a shock 20–12 win to claim their first ever trophy.

All the Leeds points were scored in the first period. The first try was scored by the Tykes' Chris Bell after Gordon Ross had chipped ahead. Andre Snyman then intercepted and went 60 m for a score. Ross converted both tries and also added two penalties to make it 20–9 after 40 minutes. Bath could only reply with four penalties from Chris Malone. So it was Leeds Tykes that won the 34th Powergen Cup to make club history. It was one of Ross's most memorable performances for the Tykes, when he not only helped the side to their first silverware but also collected the honour of being named Man of the Match. The Tykes team on Saturday, 16 April 2005, was; Balshaw (capt); Snyman, Christophers, Bell, Biggs; Ross, Dickens; Shelley, Regan, Kerr; Hooper, Palmer; Morgan, Parks, Popham. Replacements: Holt, Rawlinson, Dunbar, Hyde, McMillan, McMullen, Albanese.

Following the cup win, they went on to win five straight games and avoided the drop by finishing eighth. Phil Davies relinquished control of some coaching duties to concentrate on his role as Director of Rugby in 2005 following another poor start to the season, which saw the Tykes lose their first eight games in three different competitions. In fact, it proved to be a calamitous campaign and a sequence of defeats from which they never recovered. They had to play catch-up all season and with injuries, representative demands and the time it took for several new high-profile players such as Justin Marshall and Gordon Bulloch to bed down, were all major factors in Leeds’ plight.

Losing three successive away matches in injury time to Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers did not assist their cause. This led to, on 12 January 2006, former Rugby League international Daryl Powell being promoted from the back room staff to First Team coach. Formerly the head coach of rugby league club Leeds Rhinos, he was promoted from his previous title as the Tykes' offensive coach.

Leeds were finally relegated after Newcastle Falcons beat Sale Sharks. Ironically, relegation came exactly a year to the day that they claimed the Powergen Cup. However, they received a £1.5m 'parachute payment' whilst in National Division One. Following relegation Marshall was transfer listed by request and Leeds legend Mike Shelley announced his retirement. Other players who left were: Iain Balshaw, Chris Bell, Gordon Bulloch, Danny Care, Andy Craig, David Doherty, Dan Hyde, Mark McMillan, Tom Palmer, Richard Parks, Roland Reid, Gordon Ross, David Rees, Roland De Marigny, Scott Morgan, Chris Murphy and Nathan Thomas. Players who remained at club were: Tom Biggs, Lee Blackett, Michael Cusack, Jon Dunbar, Stuart Hooper, James Isaacson, Chris Jones, Rob Rawlinson and Rob Vickerman. At the end of April 2006, Phil Davies resigned as Director Of Rugby to be replaced by academy coach Stuart Lancaster.

The new players signed for the new season under Lancaster were Leigh Hinton from Newport Gwent Dragons, Leinster centre Jonny Hepworth, wing/full-back Richard Welding from Cornish Pirates, scrum-half Jacob Rauluni ex-Earth Titans and Bristol, scrum-half Darren Edwards from London Irish, winger John Holtby from Earth Titans, and centre Anitelia Tuilagi, on loan from Leicester Tigers. New forwards include flanker Mark Lock from London Wasps, Argentinian 7s and ex-Plymouth Albion flanker Martín Schusterman, Former Bristol Rugby No 8 Rhys Oakley from Newport Gwent Dragons, hooker James Parkes from Gloucester and props USA international Mike MacDonald, ex-Worcester who helped the Eagles to qualify for the World Cup, and Colin Noon from Biarritz.

Leeds Tykes are already planning ahead for next season and have confirmed that they have signed Earth Titans captain Joe Bedford and fly half Alberto Di Bernardo and Tongan hooker Viliami Ma'asl from Cornish Pirates. Bedford is an ex-Academy player with the Tykes and has also been with Sale Sharks and Saracens. Argentine Di Bernardo appeared for Italy 'A' before moving to England to play with the Pirates. The Tykes were confirmed as National Division One Champions on 7 April after their win at Otley combined with Rotherham's defeat to Doncaster on the same day. With only two games to play, they could not be caught by the South Yorkshire side, having three more wins than them this season.

Leeds Carnegie RUFC

Since 1 July 2007 the Leeds Tykes have been known as Leeds Carnegie after having signed what they described as a "ground-breaking" deal with Leeds Metropolitan University, which took a majority 51% stake in the club. Carnegie College is part of the university's sport department. Leeds director of rugby Stuart Lancaster said: "I am delighted by the announcement. This is another hugely significant step in our evolution."

In 2008 Lancaster left Leeds to take a job at the RFU, replaced by England World Cup winner Neil Back and Andy Key, both of whom were previously on the coaching staff at Leicester Tigers.

In May 2009, Leeds Carnegie announced that it had restructured for the Premiership.[5] Leeds Met University returned its 51% stake in Leeds Carnegie and Leeds Rugby retook full control.[6] The club will continue to be known as Leeds Carnegie RUFC.

The restructuring also saw former Wales and British and Irish Lions international Gareth Davies join a new board of directors representing the university. Paul Caddick will be the Chairman.

Key and Back are keen to bring at least eight new players to the club but Chief executive Gary Hetherington has denied this move will limit their transfer funds.

Home ground

Leeds St. Johns, who were later to become Leeds Rugby League Football Club, then Leeds Rhinos, moved to Headingley in 1889 and built Headingley stadium. Since then the stadium has staged more than 40 international matches and countless domestic finals. Undersoil heating was installed in 1963, and floodlights in 1966. New changing rooms were added in 1991.

Fans got two matches for the price of one on Saturday 13 August 2005 when Headingley hosted back-to-back union and league games. The Tykes played Edinburgh in a friendly followed by a Super League game between the Rhinos and London. 2006 saw the construction of the Carnegie Stand. Built to replace the old eastern terrace, it was opened on 1 September 2006 for the Super League match between Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves. The ground now has a capacity of 22,250.

The record attendance at Headingley was 40,175 for the rugby league match between Leeds and Bradford Northern on 21 May 1947. The highest attendance for a Tykes match was against Newcastle Falcons on 27 December 2004, with a crowd of 14,293 at Headingley to see the Falcons take home a 15–11 victory. In July 1998 Leeds RUFC became part of the world's first dual-code rugby partnership, Leeds Rugby Limited. In 2006 a new sponsorship deal with Leeds Metropolitan University led to Headingley Stadium been renamed Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Current standings

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.

Player Position Union
Scott Freer Hooker England England
Joe Graham Hooker England England
Phil Nilsen Hooker England England
Luke Cole Hooker England England
James Currie Prop England England
Ben Harris Prop England England
Ben Hooper Prop England England
Lee Imiolek Prop England England
Sam Lockwood Prop England England
Jake Armstrong Prop England England
Damien Tussac Prop Germany Germany
Calum Green Lock England England
Mike Myerscough Lock England England
Matt Smith Lock England England
Richard Beck Flanker England England
Jacob Rowan (c) Flanker England England
James Doyle (Sale) Flanker New Zealand New Zealand
Chris Walker Flanker England England
Ryan Burrows Number 8 England England
Jarad Williams Number 8 Wales Wales
Player Position Union
Matt Dudman Scrum-half England England
James Doherty Scrum-half England England
Craig Hampson Scrum-half England England
Glyn Hughes Fly-half England England
Joe Barker Centre England England
Fred Burdon Centre England England
Christian Georgiou Centre England England
Josh Griffin Centre England England
Peter Lucock Centre England England
David Doherty Wing England England
Oli Goss Wing England England
Jonah Holmes (Wasps) Wing England England
Alex Lozowski Fullback England England
Stephen McColl Fullback Scotland Scotland
  • (club) indicates players who have featured on loan for Leeds this season.

Internationally capped players

Transfers 2013-2014

Players In

Players Out

Notable former players


Club officials

  • Chairman: Simon Lee
  • Director of Rugby: Andy Key

Coaching and medical staff

  • Head Coach: James Lowes
  • Team Manager: John Carey
  • Defence & Skills Coach: Simon Middleton
  • Kicking Coach: Colin Stephens
  • Performance Director: Keith Barker
  • Assistant Conditioner: James Parkes
  • Head Physio: Paris Payne
  • Doctor: Chips Browning
  • Head of Analysis: Giles Lindsay
  • Academy Manager: Mark Luffman
  • Academy Physio: David O'Sullivan
  • Equipment Manager: David Matthews


Statistics and records

From Leedsrugby.com
  • League Records
  • Highest scoring match:
  • 104–0 v Manchester 08/04/09
  • Largest winning margin:
  • 104 v Manchester 08/04/09
  • Most points in a match:
  • 31 Braam van Straaten v London Irish 08/09/02
  • 27 Gerry Ainscough v Rosslyn Park 14/9/96
  • Most tries in a match:
  • 5 Simon Middleton v Morley 14/2/96
  • Most conversions in a match:
  • 12 Jason Strange v Manchester 08/04/09
  • 9 Gerry Ainscough v Clifton 07/12/96
  • 9 Richard Le Bas v Orrell 17/3/01
  • Most penalties in a match:
  • 9 Braam van Straaten v London Irish 08/08/02
  • Most drop goals in a match:
  • 2 Dan Eddie v Broughton Park 12/2/94
  • 2 Colin Stephens v Exeter 9/3/96
  • 2 Colin Stephens v London Welsh 19/10/96
  • 2 Dan Parks v Saracens 14/10/01
  • Fastest Ever Premiership Try:
  • 8.26 seconds Lee Blackett v Newcastle Falcons 21/3/08
  • Cup Records
  • Highest scoring cup match:
  • 100–0 v Morley 21/10/01
  • 96–6 v Redruth 2/11/96
  • Most Points in a cup match:
  • 35 Richard Le Bas v Morley 21/10/01
  • Most Tries in a cup match:
  • 5 Wendell Sailor v Rugby Lions 14/11/98
  • Most Conversions in a cup match:
  • 10 Richard Le Bas v Morley 21/10/01
  • Most Penalties in a cup match:
  • 5 Dan Eddie v Fylde 4/11/96

Season summary


Season Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts Pos Notes
2010–11 Aviva Premiership 22 4 0 18 315 590 -275 7 23 12th Relegated
2009-10 Guinness Premiership 22 7 1 14 283 493 −210 6 36 10th
2008–09 National Division One 30 28 0 2 1238 376 863 21 133 1st Promoted
2007-08 Guinness Premiership 22 2 1 19 336 732 −396 2 12 12th Relegated
2006–07 National Division One 30 24 2 4 960 474 486 23 123 1st Promoted
2005-06 Guinness Premiership 22 5 0 17 363 573 −210 8 28 12th Relegated
2004–05 Zurich Premiership 22 9 0 13 380 431 −51 7 43 8th
2003–04 Zurich Premiership 22 7 1 14 449 588 −139 7 37 11th
2002–03 Zurich Premiership 22 12 2 8 478 435 43 6 58 5th
2001–02 Zurich Premiership 22 6 0 16 406 654 −248 4 28 12th
2000–01 National Division One 26 24 0 2 1,032 407 625 1 116 1st Promoted


Competition Pld W D L F A Notes
Powergen Cup 11 5 1 5 297 274 Winners 2005
Heineken Cup 12 5 0 7 209 213
European Challenge Cup 31 18 2 11 832 601 Quarter-Finalists 2007/8
European Shield 6 4 1 1 324 106 Semi-Finalists 2004/5


External links

  • Leeds Carnegie official site
  • Leeds Rugby official site
  • Independent Tykes fans site and message board
  • Leeds Carnegie Supporters Association