Former Maori All Black lock Hayden Triggs has been called into the Blues squad to replace Culum Retallick.
Retallick ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in December last year and was forced to have surgery in January, ruling him out of action for at least six months.
31-year-old Triggs, who has previously played for the Hurricanes, Highlanders and Chiefs, is currently in Japan with the Honda Heat and will return to New Zealand to join the Blues in the next few weeks when his season finishes.
“I’m really excited about returning home to join the Blues,” Triggs said.
“I had a great time in Japan but I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting back into Super Rugby and giving it another real crack.”
Kirwan said the 2.01m, 108kg lock was the right profile of player he was looking to secure.
“It was important we got the right player to fill the void losing the experience of Culum and we think Hayden really fits that bill,” Kirwan said.
“He’s been away in Japan but he’s also played a lot of Super Rugby and he’ll bring plenty of experience to the side that we need at the moment,” he said.
“If we were going to go young, we’ve got a couple of guys in our region that we would have taken but we need someone who’s played a fair amount of games who’s not going to be intimidated if he has to come in and play the first game and that’s what we looked for in Hayden.
“He’s tough, uncompromising, works hard, knows his roles and is looking to come home which is a trend we’re starting to see a bit more.”