Richard Kahui has been ruled out for three weeks with a rib injury.
The Chiefs centre tore his rib cartilage in the round 12 Super 14 clash against the Waratahs and will only be expected back towards the end of June. Kahui is set to miss the All Blacks’ first Test against Ireland on 12 June while he will be 50-50 for the clashes against Wales on 19 and 26 June.
With injuries to Ma’a Nonu and Luke McAlister’s lack of game time, head coach Graham Henry was looking to slot Kahui in at inside centre. With Kahui out, McAlister, Benson Stanley, Stephen Donald and Ryan Crotty are expected to be in the running for the No 12 jersey.
Wing Sitiveni Sivivatu, locks Ali Williams and Jason Eaton, utility backs Mike Delany and Isaia Toeava, centre Nonu and hooker Andrew Hore are already ruled out with injury, leaving Henry with limited options for the All Blacks’ June internationals. Henry will announce his 26-man squad on Sunday.