Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union chief executive Mike Bishop got an early Christmas present at the weekend.
All Black prop Ben Franks agreed to three-year deals with the Hawke's Bay Magpies and Hurricanes for the 2013, 14, and 15 seasons.
Just how much use Bishop and the Magpies get of this present remains to be seen.
"Obviously Ben's playing time with the Magpies will be determined by his releases from international duties but when he is released for ITM Cup play he will play for us," a delighted Bishop said yesterday.
Franks, 28, has played his Super Rugby for the Crusaders since 2006 but asked for a release from his Crusaders and Canterbury contracts in the hunt for more game time elsewhere.
"While Ben wants to enhance his reputation as a loosehead prop he is a quality performer on both sides of the scrum and this is part of the reasons he is in the All Blacks mix," Bishop said.
Aranui High School's first All Black, Franks has played 20 tests since 2008. He is the fourth prop to be contracted by the Hurricanes for the 2013 season.
Waikato's Ben May and the Wellington pair of Reggie Goodes and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen are the others.
Hurricanes head coach and former All Blacks hooker Mark Hammett described Franks as "a true professional in the game with a never-give-up attitude. On the field he is uncompromising and hardworking.
"Ben also understands what it means to play for the Hurricanes. He has strong leadership abilities and recognises the importance of being active in the community," Hammett said.
It isn't surprising Franks had made loosehead prop his priority. There is no shortage of tighthead props when it comes to All Black contenders, with the likes of his brother Owen Franks, Charlie Faumuina and Magpie Ben Tameifuna.
Providing both brothers are selected, they will have the opportunity to mark each other when the Hurricanes take on the Crusaders during round four of next year's Super Rugby competition.
Should Franks play for the Magpies next year he may prop in the same frontrow as another former Crusader in Pete Borlase. Bishop confirmed yesterday Borlase had signed for next season.
Tameifuna is also signed on until the end of next year and another of the Magpies frontrowers, Havelock North's Brendon Edmonds, is contracted until 2014.
Two other Magpies props, Mitch Alcock and Adrian Barone, are on one-season deals until the end of this season but Bishop said talks had already begun with the aim of securing their signatures for next year.