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Highlanders suffer midfield blow as centre Tomkinson to undergo surgery

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

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The Highlanders have announced that outside back Patelesio Tomkinson will miss the entire 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season after succumbing to injury suffered in the NPC.

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The 25-year-old local product injured his left foot while playing for Otago during the Bunnings NPC Championship Final against Taranaki two weeks ago, which requires season-ending surgery.

Tomkinson will join explosive wing Jona Nareki on the sidelines in 2022 as the Highlanders look to continue to build under Tony Brown, who returned to the club in 2020 as an attack coach and now enters his second year as head coach.

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The former New Zealand age grade star has made 31 appearances for the Highlanders since debuting in 2017, playing across the backline in both midfield positions and on the wing without settling on one position.

His injury opens the door for the Highlanders young stable of backs to step up into the midfield. Former Crusader Fetuli Paea has made the move down south, along with second year prospect Ngatungane Punivai.

Thomas Umaga-Jensen, who has spent significant time on the sidelines since his debut since 2020 also shapes as another candidate along with Scott Gregory, who featured in the midfield this season after debuting on the wing last year.

2022 Super Rugby Pacific Highlanders Squad

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Props: Ayden Johnstone, Ethan De Groot, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Jermaine Ainsley, Jeff Thwaites, Josh Hohneck, Saula Mau

Hookers: Liam Coltman, Andrew Makalio, Rhys Marshall

Locks: Josh Dickson, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Bryn Evans, Sam Caird

Loosies: Shannon Frizell, Gareth Evans, James Lentjes, Billy Harmon, Sean Withy, Max Hicks, Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Hugh Renton

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Halfbacks: Aaron Smith, Folau Fakatava, Kayne Hammington

First fives: Mitch Hunt, Marty Banks

Midfield: Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Ngatungane Punivai, Scott Gregory, Fetuli Paea

Outside backs: Mosese Dawai, Vilimoni Koroi, Josh Timu, Sam Gilbert, Connor Garden-Bachop, Solomon Alaimalo

Unavailable due to injury: Paripari Parkinson, Jona Nareki, Patelesio Tomkinson

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