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Thu 9 Jan 2020 | 10:45

Highlanders suffer hooker blow

Highlanders suffer hooker blow
Thu 9 Jan 2020 | 10:45
Highlanders suffer hooker blow
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INJURY UPDATE: The Highlanders suffered a setback before their season even had a chance to get off the ground.

Otago and Highlanders’ hooker Ricky Jackson has been forced out of the 2020 Super Rugby season with an ankle injury, sustained in pre-season training, before Christmas.

After extensive investigations and consultations, Jackson underwent surgery to stabilize his ankle.

“Unfortunately for Ricky this is a long-term injury that rules him out for the 2020 season,” Highlanders team doctor Asheer Singh said.

“Our aim is to have him back on the field in time for the NPC.”

Jackson (21) is the second young player to have been ruled out due to injury, after 20-year-old Connor Garden Bachop’s season ended in early December.

“This is tough on Ricky particularly, as he had worked very hard to get into shape after an injury during the NPC.

“What I do know about Ricky though, he is resilient and will work his way back with Otago and be with us again in 2021,” said coach Aaron Mauger.

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Jackson has been replaced in the squad by Bay of Plenty hooker Nathan Vella.

An experienced rake, who played the first of his 15 provincial games for Auckland in 2011 prior to a period overseas with London Welsh and then the Bedford Blues.

In 2016 he returned to New Zealand to play for Canterbury in the NPC.

Vella has previously provided injury cover for the Crusaders and this season played his provincial rugby for Bay of Plenty.

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Highlanders Suffer Hooker Blow | Rugby365