Yates poised to solve Cardiff's prop problem

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The Independent Online

Cardiff are believed to have signed Kevin Yates, the former Bath and England prop who has spent the last year in New Zealand, where he has been playing in the Super 12 competition for Wellington Hurricanes.

Cardiff are believed to have signed Kevin Yates, the former Bath and England prop who has spent the last year in New Zealand, where he has been playing in the Super 12 competition for Wellington Hurricanes.

Yates, 27, is involved in the National Provincial Championship, but once his one-year Super 12 contract with the New Zealand Rugby Football Union expires at the end of the present domestic season Down Under he is expected to join Cardiff, who won the inaugural Welsh-Scottish league last season.

Yates, who achieved notoriety after being found guilty of biting the ear of the London Scottish flanker Simon Fenn in a Cup tie at Bath in January 1998 - a charge he has consistently denied - for which he was banned for six months, is believed to have agreed a two-year deal with Cardiff which would be worth somewhere in the region of £60,000 to £70,000.

Cardiff have been looking for a high-quality prop now that Andrew Lewis is moving to hooker. They have Spencer John, but need cover on the loose-head side.

Across the Severn, the Argentinian international Agustin Pichot has committed himself to Bristol for at least one more season. Pichot yesterday countered speculation that he could leave the club after several Premiership rivals were apparently interested in signing him. "There have been a lot of rumours about my future, particularly after Bob Dwyer's departure from Bristol," he said. "However, I am committed to the club for at least another season and I am looking forward to working under Dean Ryan, who is a great coach."

The 25-year-old scrum-half joined Bristol from Richmond, but the 33 times-capped Puma could not help them clinch Heineken Cup qualification last term, a fact that he conceded was a "disappointment".

The Great Britain rugby league full-back Iestyn Harris, a long-time target of rugby union, will make his debut in the code this weekend after being named in the Leeds squad for Saturday's Middlesex Sevens. Harris, who rejected a million-pound plus offer from the Welsh Rugby Union last December, leads a mixed team of union and league players at the Twickenham tournament. Harris still plans to turn out for the Rhinos at Huddersfield-Sheffield 24 hours later.

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