New Zealand will be minus the services of Derren Witcombe for their "Grand Slam" tour next month after the 26-year-old hooker sustained a neck injury whilst playing for Auckland.
The Tasmanian-born front rower, who made his Test debut against Fiji in June and was used as a replacement through the Tri Nations series, is likely to be sidelined for upwards of six months.
Witcombe sustained the injury against Canterbury in a recent NPC and Ranfurly Shield game, and an MRI scan afterwards showed up a disc prolapse in his neck.
The five-times capped Witcombe said in a statement: "Your health is the most valuable asset you can have.
"Injuries are part of the game and you just have to accept them. The support of the medical staff and the team has been great. I will be following their advice closely and will only resume training when I am 100% ready."
New Zealand boss Graham Henry added: "We are glad the injury is not as severe as it could have been and we look forward to seeing him back playing whenever this may be."
Henry's All Blacks take on Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Saturday, November 12 (kick-off 2.30pm).