All Blacks and Highlanders utility forward Jarrad Hoeata has had to have surgery on a torn pectoral muscle and will miss the start of the Super Rugby season next year.
The physical forward, who can play at lock and on the flank, tore the muscle off the bone at Highlanders pre-season training last week and underwent surgery in Auckland on Tuesday.
He will spend three months on the sidelines, which will come as a blow to his franchise coach Jamie Joseph who started him in every game for the Highlanders last season.
"The injury is going to put me out for a few months and I'm going to miss a few games," Hoeata told the Taranaki Daily News. "By that stage I think I'll feel like a caged animal and be really ready to get stuck into it."
Although he has become a stalwart in the highlanders team, Hoeata resisted offers from Otago and Southland to play his provincial rugby down south as well and signed a contract extension with Taranaki.
"They were really keen to keep me down here and with the Highlanders. It would have been a logical move, to come down and base myself down here," he said. "But with the team we've got and the coaching staff we've got in Taranaki, I'm really keen to be a part of that again."
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