The Highlanders have suffered a blow with the news that All Blacks centre Tamati Ellison will miss most of the season through injury.
The dangerous midfielder underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season for an injury he first sustained playing for Otago in the NPC last year.
Ellison went for scans after returning from tour with the All Blacks in November, and they revealed a dislocation and break in the shoulder bone.
Although the loss of the experienced centre will come as a blow for Jamie Joseph's side, they do have decent cover in the midfield with Ma'a Nonu, Shaun Treeby, Phil Burleigh and Jason Emery all currently in the squad, so Joseph has opted against calling on a replacement.
Rookie wing Declan O'Donnell has also suffered a shoulder injury, and Joseph is expected to bring another outside back into his squad as cover.