Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava has been ruled out of action for the rest of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season, due to injury.
Fakatava suffered the injury during the Highlanders' upset win over the Crusaders on Friday night.
He was later confirmed to have suffered a full ACL tear in his right knee, which will require surgery and rehabilitation of 9-12 months.
The injury is a devastating blow for the 21-year-old, whose form for both Hawke's Bay during last year's national provincial championship and the Highlanders had thrust him into All Blacks contention.
"This is very tough on Folau," says Highlanders coach Tony Brown. "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."
Kayne Hammington has been named as Fakatava's replacement, with Aaron Smith to resume starting duties, after a rare appearance from the bench last week.
“We are fortunate that we have an excellent replacement in Kayne Hammington, who has been training hard for an opportunity," Brown adds.
"He is very experienced and knows our game well."
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