Australian hooker Ben Whittaker has arrived at Biarritz Olympique as a medical joker.
The front-row forward, who turns 24 next week, will provide cover for suspended Arnaud Heguy.
Whitaker, a former Australia Schoolboys international and Junior Wallaby, was released by Western Force at the end of this year's Super Rugby season.
Having played 30 times in four years since 2009, Whitaker managed just two appearances for the Force in this year's campaign after breaking his foot in pre-season training.
He joins Biarritz who lie at the foot of the Top14 with just one win from their opening seven games. Regular hooker Heguy has been banned for 20 weeks after being found guilty of threatening a referee during the 24-13
loss to Toulon in August.
Biarritz kick-off their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign at Sale Sharks on October10.
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.