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Highlanders confirm Manu out for the season

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James Mortimer     26 Feb 2013     Getty Images

Essentially the 24-year-old will spent the next three months combining couch, crutches and moon boots before he is able to put weight on his foot again.

It is a cruel blow for a player who looked to be in career best shape, while the match against the Cheetahs in a fortnight's time would have been his 50th for the Highlanders.

Number Eight Elliot Dixon is the most likely replacement, while there is cover in the development ranks, with Jake Paringatai an option after coming through unscathed in the Highlanders development team's win over their Crusaders counterparts.

While the scratching out of the big back rower is a massive blow, Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said it gave another player a chance to make the position their own.

There was however better news in the backline, as Colin Slade successfully navigated some time on the park with the Highlanders development side over the weekend.