Guinness Premiership club Bristol Shoguns have completed the signing of former Leinster and Ireland Under-21 hooker David Blaney on a one-year deal.
Blaney has been drafted in by Bristol coach Richard Hill, on the recommendation of his former Leinster team mate Brian O'Riordan.
The Memorial Stadium side, who open their Premiership campaign away to Worcester Warriors on Saturday, saw their number of match fit hookers dwindle in pre-season as both Saul Nelson (ankle) and Neil Clarke (torn ACL) were put on the injury list.
Bristol's first choice hooker is the England-capped Mark Regan, whom Blaney will almost certainly act as cover for against Worcester.
Blaney made his Leinster debut against Swansea in September 2001 and went on to win 45 caps with the province and three at Under-21 level for Ireland. He was used as a substitute by Bristol in their 20-3 win over Cardiff Blues last Friday.
Hill, the former Bath and England scrum half, said of his new recruit: "David has come in and slotted in really well. His attitude has been superb. Signing him for the year is a good deal as far as we are concerned and we consider ourselves very fortunate to have picked up someone of his quality at this late stage.
Signalling out Blaney's "great attitude", Hill added: "Everyone I have spoken to about David, from Brian O'Riordan to coaches who have played against Leinster, have only had positive things to say about him. The feedback on him has only been good, and we are confident he will be a more than able understudy to Mark Regan."
Scrum half O'Riordan, who moved to Bristol earlier n the summer, was also on the bench against Cardiff.