With John O’Sullivan out through injury and the ERC (European Rugby Cup) player registration deadline in mind, Munster have signed former New Zealand Maori back rower Jake Paringatai on a short term contract.
O’Sullivan has had surgery to repair damage to his cruciate knee ligament – he sustained the injury in Munster’s pre-season win over the US Eagles in Chicago at the end of August. He is not expected to be back in action until March.
The 27-year-old Paringatai, who stands at 6ft 1in and weighs 13st 8lbs, was a team-mate of current Munster centre Rua Tipoki at Canterbury Crusaders in the Super 14 last season and was on the New Zealand Maori team from 2004 until the 2006 Churchill Cup campaign.
Born in Paraparaumu, also the birthplace of former Munster full-back Christian Cullen, Paringatai captained Horrowhenua Kapiti at Schools and Under-19 level while he attended Kapiti College before moving to Dunedin and the Otago Rugby Academy.
During his time in Dunedin he played for the Otago Colts and the Highlanders Development side but a surplus of loose forwards down south convinced him it was time for change and he moved to Northland where he has remained.
In 2005 he gained overseas experience in Italy with Carrera Petrarca at the end of which he was selected to play for an international All-Stars selection against the Italian national side in a friendly game prior to the 2006 Six Nations tournament.
His form in the 2006 NPC – he played in every minute of Northland’s Air New Zealand Cup campaign – made the Crusaders sit up and take notice and he was drafted into their squad for the 2007 Super 14 campaign, making his debut against the Auckland Blues at Eden Park as a replacement at number eight for Moses Tuiali’i.
Paringatai is to join Munster on a six month contract, subject to medical and fitness clearance and being granted a work permit. He is due to arrive on Irish soil on Monday and it is expected he will be based in Limerick.