MELBOURNE (Reuters) - All Blacks fullback Ben Smith has been ruled out of the Otago Highlanders’ South Africa tour after suffering an ankle strain in the 57-14 trouncing of the Stormers on Friday.
The Highlanders captain will miss next week’s match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein and the following game against the twice champion Bulls in Pretoria, local media reported, citing a team spokesman.
Smith will target a return for the May 20 match against Western Force in Perth.
His absence opens the door for Richard Buckman, who replaced Smith at fullback earlier in the season when he was out with concussion.
Highlanders coach Tony Brown also has Matt Faddes as another option for the number 15 jersey.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty