Dunedin based Super Rugby franchise the Highlanders have named wider training group member, Richard Buckman, as the replacement squad member for Buxton Popoalii who is having heart surgery later this month.
Buckman played for Hawke's Bay in the ITM Cup and has been a member of the Hurricanes making his Super Rugby debut in 2011 against the Lions.
He impressed on his debut for the Highlanders against the Blues on Saturday night, making try saving tackles and showing explosiveness on attack. For this he has been rewarded with a full super rugby contract.
The Highlanders play the Chiefs at home in Hamilton on Saturday night with the team to be released on Thursday.
Meanwhile the Highlanders have revealed that Brad Thorn is out for four weeks with a rib injury and winger Patrick Osborne has been sidelined with an ankle injury and is unavailable for this week.