Highlanders utility back Richard Buckman has been ruled out for the entire Super Rugby season after suffering a serious shoulder injury.
Buckman sustained the injury in the Highlanders' pre-season warm-up against Racing in Hong Kong last week. He was told on Wednesday he needed surgery and an estimated nine-month recovery period.
The 26-year-old, nicknamed 'Barracuda', played an influential role in the Highlanders successful title charge in 2015 and admitted his disappointment at missing out on the team's title defence.
'I went and saw the surgeon last night and he gave me the news which was pretty tough. It was a tough sleep last night. I was looking forward to another big season trying to defend that title,' said Buckman.
'It is just one of those things you can't do too much about. I now have to look forward to the future and see the positives and get all my injuries right.'
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