Highlanders halfback and All Blacks possible Folau Fakatava is out for the rest of the year after sustaining a knee injury on Friday night against the Crusaders.
Following imaging tests yesterday, it was confirmed he has a full tear of the ACL in his right knee.
The injury will require an operation and a rehabilitation period of 9-12 months before he returns to play.
“This is very tough on Folau; he’s been playing outstanding rugby for us this season and he must have been in consideration for the All Blacks with his performances in Super Rugby Aotearoa and the Mitre 10 Cup,” head coach Tony Brown said.
“We are fortunate that we have an excellent replacement in Kayne Hammington who has been training hard for an opportunity, he is very experienced and knows our game well.”
The 21-year-old Fakatava had enjoyed a bright start to the season, earning the start against the Crusaders over Aaron Smith.
Otago halfback James Arscott has been bought in as a replacement for Fakatava.
The injury list has grown over the last few weeks for the Highlanders, with the promising Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Freedom Vahaakolo both ruled out for the season.
They have been replaced permanently in the squad by Otago midfielder Josh Timu and Southland utility back Josh Moorby.