YORK Knights have signed Tom Nicholson-Watton on a season-long loan from Betfred Super League heavyweights Leeds Rhinos.

With Italian international Brenden Santi set for a spell on the sidelines after a calf injury, the 21-year old prop will bolster York's forward options ahead of Sunday's Betfred Championship opener at Doncaster (3pm).

He becomes the Knights' second signing of the day, with winger Tom Lineham returning to the club earlier this afternoon after spells with Hull FC, Wakefield Trinity and Warrington Wolves.

Nicholson-Watton, a former Leeds Scholarship captain, made his Rhinos debut in last season's 46-0 thrashing of Castleford Tigers. 

He also spent time on loan at Keighley Cougars, making six appearances for the Cougar Park club in the Championship last term

The former England Under 16 and Yorkshire Academy front-rower is looking forward to getting vital game time under his belt as he continues his development at the Knights.

He enthused: "I'm really excited! This is a massive opportunity for me to get some consistent game-time under my belt at a great club like York.

"It's going to be great for my development and hopefully I can help the Club out and we can have some success this year.

"There's some great players and great coaches here who have got a vast amount of experience, which is only going to benefit my own game. Hopefully I can get some good game-time here and continue to develop my game."

Knights head coach Andrew Henderson has not been shy in his wishes to help develop young talent at the club, with both Oli Field and Taylor Pemberton earning permanent contracts following impressive loans from the Rhinos and St Helens last term.

And he admits that Nicholson-Watton ticks a lot of boxes for his side ahead of Sunday's league opener.

He added: "I'm really excited to bring Tom to York. Tom is a young, up-and-coming talent who has been on our radar for a while and we're really fortunate that Leeds have supported and facilitated this move.

"Given where Tom is at at his stage of this stage in his development, getting regular game-time in the Betfred Championship is going to further that.

"He's a really good person first and foremost and he's got a really good rugby league IQ for a young player.

"He's an industrious player that works really hard in his effort areas who has ball-playing ability too. He certainly ticks a lot of boxes for us."