Former Highlanders wing Ryan Tongia and Bay of Plenty first five Daniel Hollinshead are both heading to French PRO D2 club Agen as 'medical jokers' to cover for injury.

Hollinshead will still be available for consideration for the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup season with the Steamers, as the French season will finish in May.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union chief executive Mike Rogers said of the opportunity this gives Hollinshead to further develop: "We are happy to have been able to work with Dan on this opportunity. We think this is a great move for Dan that will help him develop both on and off the field. He is still young and this is a great step in his ongoing growth as a rugby player and person. This will be a fantastic experience and challenge given he is going to a foreign country and a different language. We are excited for him and will follow his progress closely," said Rogers of the 22-year-old pivot.

Hollinshead was called up to the All Blacks Sevens squad in December, while Tongia has been plying his trade at Top 14 club Bayonne.

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Also at Agen is former Manawatu Turbos and All Blacks Sevens flyer George Tilsley, who is the top tryscorer in the second tier competition.

Agen is near the top of the always competitive and cut-throat PRO D2, which houses some of France's great old clubs.