THE release of hooker Mike Mayhew to join Aviva Premiership side Harlequins could free up funds for Yorkshire Carnegie to bring in two or three new players in the coming weeks.
The New Zealander scored a hat-trick during Sunday’s 38-36 Championship win over Bedford Blues but barely 48 hours later it was announced he had moved to Quins on a three-month loan deal.
Although it seems a strange time to sanction the move, Carnegie maintain it can work in their favour.
Head of rugby operations Chris Gibson said: “With Joe Buckle back available and youngster Harry Newborn having impressed in the British & Irish Cup, we have opted to allow Mike to join Quins with an opportunity for him to show his worth in the Premiership.
“We are always looking to strengthen the playing group when opportunities arise and we are working on a number of possibilities once the Premiership clubs have more flexibility with their squads after the A League and Autumn Internationals have been completed.”
Ex-London Irish hooker Mayhew made 24 appearances for Carnegie last term in his first season at Headingley.
He has also played with Newcastle Falcons before returning home to Waikato and has played six time for James Lowes’ side in this campaign.
However, he now gets a chance to shine with a top-flight club again and is set to feature in Quins’ Anglo-Welsh Cup game at Saracens this weekend.
Mayhew’s young brother Nic previously played for the London club.
Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston said: “Both Rob Buchanan and Joe Gray have recently had operations and will be out for a short while. With that in mind, we needed to identify someone who provided the necessary experience to come into the group for the next few months.
“Mike delivers exactly that; he is a dynamic, physical player who will suit our style of rugby.
“I know he is highly energised at the opportunity which has presented itself and I am sure he will make a significant contribution to the group in the time he is here.”
Mayhew, whose brother Richard is Carnegie captain, is out of contract at Headingley at the end of this season.