The Highlanders will be without backline duo Waisake Naholo and Fumiaki Tanaka for at least the next month, or longer, due to injury.
Naholo sustained a new fracture to the same leg that he injured before the Rugby World Cup last year. The injury occurred late in the game against the Blues and the fracture was confirmed by x-ray on Monday.
Team doctor Greg Macleod said, “While this is very unfortunate for Waisake, the positive news is that this injury is not as bad as his last fracture. He is already managing well and it’s expected his rehab will take 6-8 weeks."
Tanaka injured his calf during the last training in Auckland and was replaced on the bench by Josh Renton for the match against the Blues.
“Fumi has torn his calf and we expect the recovery to take 4 weeks,“ added Macleod.
Head coach Jamie Joseph was philosophical about the injuries.
“To lose players for an extended period is always disappointing but you have to expect injuries to occur at some point. As a group we simply deal with it and move on. The focus for the players now will be to rehab well and work to make themselves available again."
Naholo will not be returning to Fiji for treatment as he did last year. His rehab will be under the guidance of Highlanders team doctor Greg Macleod.