Super Rugby champions Highlanders have been dealt a blow after Richard Buckman was ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Versatile back Buckman hurt himself scoring a try in a pre-season fixture against Racing 92.
It was subsequently confirmed Buckman needs surgery and will be absent for the duration of Highlanders' title defence.
"It is obviously pretty disappointing, I was looking forward to another big season trying to defend that title," Buckman told New Zealand publication Stuff.
"But it is just one of those things you can't do too much about now and [have to] look forward to the future and see the positives and get all my injuries right.
"I went and saw the surgeon last night and he gave me the news which was pretty tough. It was a tough sleep last night."