Super Rugby
Nasi Manu set to miss remainder of campaign
ESPN Staff
February 26, 2013
Nasi Manu celebrates the Highlanders' win over the Crusaders, Highlanders v Crusaders, Super Rugby, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand, March 3, 2012
Nasi Manu has developed into a key player for the Highlanders, and the team will miss his work rate and ball carrying © Getty Images
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Highlanders backrower Nasi Manu will miss most, if not all, of the remainder of the Super Rugby season after dislocating a foot ligament in their competition opener against the Chiefs on Friday night.

Manu underwent surgery on Monday and will not be able to put any weight on the foot for six weeks. He will then spend six weeks in a moonboot before he starts the haul back to fitness.

"He is going to have a long spell on the sideline," Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said.

Nasi Manu, 24, missed most of the 2010 season because of a knee injury, but has been a constant fixture in the starting line-up for the past two seasons. He is a powerful ball-runner with a high work rate, and he has been an automatic choice in the back of the Highlanders' scrum. He has played 49 Super Rugby matches, and would have played his 50th against the Cheetahs in Invercargill on Saturday week.

His loss, along with that of Adam Thomson to Japan, is a severe blow to the Highlanders.

"It is extremely bad luck for Nasi but there is an opportunity for someone else to come along and make the position their own," Joseph said.

The Highlanders lost their opener against the Chiefs, but showed enough to suggest they remained title contenders

No immediate replacement will be named for Manu as Joseph said the team had adequate cover in the meantime. Southland No.8 Elliot Dixon played the second half against the Chiefs, and Jake Paringatai has recovered from a broken bone in his hand to play for the Highlanders' development team in their 36-15 win over the Crusaders' Knights in Christchurch at the weekend. Otago captain Paul Grant was called into the squad in January, as injury cover for Paringatai and Doug Tietjens, and he will remain there.

Fly-half Colin Slade, meanwhile, played half a game for the Highlanders' development side in Christchurch, and he may play off the bench against the Cheetahs.

How badly will the Highlanders miss Nasi Manu? Is his absence a fatal blow to the Highlanders' campaign? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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