CHRIS PILGRIM and James Fitzpatrick are leaving Newcastle Falcons to join Championship side Leeds Carnegie.

The duo have both signed two-year deals with the Headingley club as Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards looks to clear out some of his fringe players ahead of a summer reshuffle.

Scrum-half Pilgrim will leave Newcastle at the end of the current campaign, while Fitzpatrick is expected to join Leeds on an initial loan basis later this month.

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Pilgrim joined Newcastle from Nottingham in 2009, and recovered from a cruciate ligament injury to play a part in the final stages of last year’s promotion campaign. However, he has found first-team chances in the Aviva Premiership hard to come by and has barely featured this season.

Fitzpatrick signed professional forms with Falcons in 2010 after stepping up from Westoe and Blaydon, but has struggled to establish himself in Richards’ first-choice line up.

“Chris and James are both talented individuals, and both need to be playing regular first-team rugby,” said Richards. “Their move to Leeds is a great opportunity for that to happen, and I wish them all the very best for the future.

“It’s always sad to lose someone local like Fitzy, but we’ve spoken about the chances that he’ll get at Kingston Park and I sincerely hope it won’t be the end of his association with the club.”