New Zealand lock Patrick Tuipulotu is set to miss the upcoming three-game tour to France in June following a shoulder injury.
The 25-year-old sustained the blow while playing for his club Auckland Blues in their recent most Super Rugby encounter against Hurricanes which his team went on to lose 15-36.
Tuipulotu made his New Zealand debut in 2014 but has featured in nine out of his overall 16 appearances in the last two years under head coach Steve Hansen.
Tuipulotu's New Zealand and Bulls team-mate Rieko Ioane reckon his loss will be a big blow.
“He’s had an unlucky streak of injuries,” Ioane told the New Zealand Herald.
“They’re the niggly ones which sit him out for a month and then he plays for a couple of weeks and then he gets another one, so it’s been tough on him.
“The form that he’s been in – we’re going to miss that. He’s been a powerhouse for us all year.
“He’s been into our new boys about the expectations that are needed – they’ll have big shoes to fill but I’m sure they’ll do the job.”
Blues are currently languishing at the bottom of New Zealand Conference after managing just three wins from 11 games.