Rising Highlanders star ruled out of Super Rugby Aotearoa with season-ending injury

Dickson was taken from the field in a medical cart during the first half of the Highlanders’ 40-20 defeat to the Crusaders in Dunedin on Saturday after his lower left leg was struck by a swinging boot.

Speaking to media on Wednesday, Highlanders assistant coach Riki Flutey confirmed that the resulting injury was a broken fibula, which is expected to keep the 25-year-old second rower out of action for at least four months.

Dickson’s absence from the Highlanders’ starting line-up is sure to be sorely felt, with the Australian-born prospect enjoying career-best form this season.

Forming a dynamic second row partnership with highly-rated young lock Pari Pari Parkinson, Dickson had impressed onlookers with his leadership at the lineout and solid ball-carrying ability.

He currently leads Super Rugby Aotearoa for lineout wins (13), and was staking a strong claim to take one of the vacant lock positions in the All Blacks set-up prior to his injury.

With Brodie Retallick on sabbatical and Scott Barrett out for the rest of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season due to a foot injury, All Blacks boss Ian Foster urged young locks to put their hands up for selection in an interview with the New Zealand Herald earlier this week.

“You don’t have to be Einstein to know we’re spreading out net widely at lock,” Foster told the Herald.

“Scott Barrett’s injury is going to make that worse and more obvious. If you’re a young lock in this country right now then play well.”

Dickson had certainly fit that bill throughout 2020 and must have stood as one of the contenders to accompany incumbent locks Sam Whitelock and Patrick Tuipulotu in the national set-up.

This setback will put the fast-rising star’s international aspirations on ice for the time being, though, with Flutey outlining the contribution Dickson has made to the Highlanders in 2020.