The Hurricanes probably need an experienced prop. Hawke's Bay have just signed one and if you put two and two together you get Peter Borlase.
The 27-year-old former Canterbury, Crusaders and Munster tighthead arrived in Napier nearly three weeks ago and will play for the Magpies in this year's NPC.
Borlase spent two years playing under Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett, when the latter was the Crusaders' forwards coach. Hammett's path was blocked there by Todd Blackadder, while Owen and Ben Franks were ahead of Borlase in the tighthead pecking order.
But talk of a Borlase-Hammett reunion is premature, said the new Magpie.
"My main focus is getting a run of games in the ITM Cup," Borlase said.
He said he regarded Hammett as "a great coach" but that contract talk was his agent, Warren Alcock's, domain.
Still, it's a Canterbury connection that got Borlase to the Bay. New Magpies coach Craig Philpott was previously on the staff of Canterbury and the Crusaders and started charting Borlase's progress after Munster sent him out on loan to rival Irish club Connacht.
Borlase had hoped to sign a permanent deal at Connacht. But when that fell through the Magpies swooped.
"Things just didn't come round with the Irish Rugby Union," Borlase said. "I was really happy with Ireland and how things were going. But when I laid all my cards on the table, the best thing for my footy was to come back here and have another go."
Winner of three NPC titles with Canterbury and veteran of two Ranfurly Shield tenures, Borlase was a very good performer at provincial level before signing a two-year deal at Munster in 2010.
Among his more memorable displays in a red-and-black jersey was in Canterbury's 36-14 win over Wellington at Westpac Stadium in 2009, in which the Lions also surrendered the Log o' Wood.
Borlase said he had assumed hewould only ever play provincial rugby for Canterbury.
"But people don't hold a seat for you. Once you leave things change and obviously whoever slotted in for me did a great job, because they won the [NPC] title again last year," he said.
As for Hawke's Bay, Borlase thinks they'll give this year's title race "a good go."
"I'm not saying that we're going to be world-beaters, but we've got a good pool of talent here and a good group of guys that have got their heads screwed on and want to achieve something."
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- © Fairfax NZ News
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