Otago and Highlanders’ hooker Ricky Jackson has been forced out of the 2020 Super Rugby season with an ankle injury sustained during training pre-Christmas.

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After extensive investigations and consultations, Jackson underwent surgery to stabilize his ankle.

Highlanders’ Team Doctor Asheer Singh said, “unfortunately for Ricky this is a long-term injury that rules him out for the 2020 season, our aim is to have him back on the field in time for the Mitre 10 Cup.”

Jackson (21) is the second young player to have been ruled out due to injury after 20-year-old Connor Garden Bachop’s season ended in early December.

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“This is tough on Ricky particularly as he had worked very hard to get into shape after an injury during the Mitre 10 Cup. What I do know about Ricky though, he is resilient and will work his way back with Otago and be with us again in 2021,” said Head Coach, Aaron Mauger.

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Jackson represented New Zealand at the 2018 iteration of the Under 20 Rugby World Championship where the Baby Blacks finished in 4th place.

Jackson has been replaced in the squad by Bay of Plenty hooker, Nathan Vella, an experienced rake who played the first of his 15 provincial games for Auckland in 2011 prior to a period overseas with London Welsh and then the Bedford Blues.

In 2016, Vella returned to New Zealand to play for Canterbury in the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup. He has previously provided injury cover for the Crusaders and this season played his provincial rugby for Bay of Plenty.

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– with Highlanders Rugby

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