Highlanders winger Waisake Naholo has fractured the same leg that stymied his All Blacks selection in 2015 and will miss the next 6-8 weeks of Super Rugby.
Naholo, the leading tryscorer in last year’s competition, suffered the injury late in the Highlanders’ 33-31 loss to the Blues at Eden Park.
A team statement said an x-ray confirmed a new fracture to the same leg he injured on Test debut against Argentina in Hamilton last July.
That injury sidelined the 24-year-old for nearly three months until he played World Cup pool games against Georgia and Tonga.
Naholo made headlines last year when he won World Cup squad selection, having recovered more quickly than anticipated. He owed his rapid return to a traditional island healing method involving leaves and massage.
Macleod says Naholo will not return to Fiji for treatment this time, with his recuperation to come under the watch of Highlanders medical staff, with the injury not as severe as last year’s.
“He is already managing well and it’s expected his rehab will take 6-8 weeks,” Macleod said.
In a further blow, reserve halfback Fumiaki Tanaka will miss the next month after injuring his calf at training ahead of the Blues game. The Japan international was replaced on the bench by Josh Renton.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph was philosophical about the injuries to members of his 2015 championship-winning side.
“To lose players for an extended period is always disappointing but you have to expect injuries to occur at some point,” he said.
“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.”