Northampton have signed Argentina international hooker Matias Cortese on a two-year deal.
Cortese, 20, made his Test debut for the Pumas last December and he has played at successive Under-21 World Cups.
Saints director of rugby Budge Pountney said: "We decided we needed extra cover in the hooker position as Steve Thompson and Dylan Hartley may be called up to the England and Under-21 sides during the Six Nations period.
"Dylan is also currently recovering from a back injury."
Cortese, who played against Hartley at last year's Under-21 World Cup, qualifies as an EU player through an Italian passport.