Prop blow for Highlanders ahead of SA trip
Cape Town - The Highlanders have received an injury blow ahead of their Super Rugby semi-final against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Tongan prop Siua Halanukonuka’s season with the Highlanders has come to an end after suffering ankle ligament damage in last Friday’s 15-9 quarter-final win over the Brumbies in Canberra.
After a breakthrough season for the defending champions, head coach Jamie Joseph believes that Halanukonuka will continue to have a key role to play for the side in the future.
"He's been a great buy for us. He obviously played a bit for Tasman and he's had one game for Tonga but he hadn't actually played at Super Rugby level," Joseph told the Stuff.co.nz website.
"We've got him next year, I think he's going to play a big part in the Highlanders future for sure."
Better news for the Highlanders comes in the return of a healthy Marty Banks, who has been added to the side's travelling squad along with Craig Millar (prop), Joe Wheeler (lock), James Lentjies (flank).
Banks is fit again after pulling out of the Highlanders' clash with the Kings earlier this season and returning to New Zealand to continue his rehab.
The well-liked member of the Highlanders squad will join Treviso later this year.
"Marty Banks has been in this situation, certainly last year," Joseph added.
"He's a very good player, he's a big game player, it's nice to have him back. It's just a pity he's had some niggling injuries all year, he would have played a big part in our season."