Naholo still some way off for Highlanders

The Highlanders All Black wing Waisake Naholo's recovery from a leg fracture is behind schedule and he's still another couple of weeks away at least from returning to Super Rugby.

The Highlanders had hoped the Fiji-born flyer would be ready to play against South Africa's Sharks in Dunedin on Friday but assistant coach Tony Brown says Naholo is still some way off full contact training.

"We haven't really made a plan for Waisake yet. We're getting him back running, he's doing that at the moment," Brown said.

"Once he can take a bit of contact we'll make a plan for him."

The 24-year-old scored a franchise record 13 tries last season to earn selection for the All Blacks' World Cup-winning squad but was injured in the opening round this year against the Blues.

The Highlanders, who're fourth in the New Zealand conference and fifth overall, suffered a shock loss to the lowly Queensland Reds in their last game, and face a tough run of matches against the ACT Brumbies and Chiefs after the Sharks match and are keen to get the winger back.

On a positive note, co-captain Ben Smith is expected to return from the head knock that forced the All Blacks fullback to miss the Reds match.