The rookie season for new Highlander Connor-Garden Bachop is over before it starts. Garden-Bachop sustained a lower back injury in February 2019 and despite treatment, the injury has continued giving him trouble. As a result, the decision has been made to operate on his back prior to Christmas and the procedure will require a recovery time of 6-7 months. He will return to Dunedin post his operation to begin his rehab with the Highlanders’ medical staff. 

Head Coach, Aaron Mauger, said it was bad luck for the young winger, “It’s tough on Connor as I know he was extremely excited by the prospect of pulling on the Highlanders jersey for the first time. However, it’s the right decision, his back has been preventing him from training fully ,he is still a very young player and it’s in his best interests to get it sorted now so we can rehab him well through the super season, then he can come back strong through the Mitre 10 competition later in the year.”

He has been replaced in the squad by 21-year-old Tasman outside back Lotima Fainga’anuku. A hard running winger, and elder brother of Leicester, Tima played for NZ U20's in the 2017 World Championships in Georgia. He has had three seasons with the Tasman Mako since 2016 and has played for the Crusaders in 2018 before a season with Perpignan.


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