As they look to add depth to their loose-forward ranks ahead of the 2013 Super XV campaign, coach Jamie Joseph and his management team have enlisted the services of the experienced and controversial Jake Paringatai.
Having make his provincial debut for Northland in 2003 Paringatai was a player with lofty ambitions when he travelled to Christchurch to join the Crusaders, making his first appearance for the red and blacks in 2007 against the Blues.
But problems off the field, which included breaches of team protocol and culminated in a criminal charge when he was found guilty of groping a woman in a bar and fined $12,500, curtailed any aspirations he may have had of achieving higher honours.
Forced to pursue a career off-shore Paringatai played briefly in Europe with Munster before joining the Fukuoka Sanix Blues in the top flight of the Japanese competition.
Described on the Highlanders website as a hard-nosed loose forward his style of play bares similarities to that of the man who will coach him in Dunedin, who in his playing days was renowned for his no-holds-barred approach to the game.
Joseph, who is confident Paringatai has matured and put the past behind him, will be hoping the physically abrasive loosie can add much needed depth to an area of his squad which is one of the Highlanders’ few concerns this season, having attracting some highly accomplished players in most other positions.