New Zealand full-back Ben Blair has been ruled out of the World Cup with a serious neck injury.
Ben Blair will be replaced by Ben Atiga
He will be sent home and replaced in the squad by Auckland utility back Ben Atiga.
Blair, 24, who was a late withdrawal from the replacements bench in Friday's 68-6 pool D victory over Canada.
Team manager Tony Thorpe said Blair had a prolapsed disc in
A prolapsed disc occurs when the casing surrounding the disc bursts and presses against ligaments and nerves running close to the disc.
"In the best interests of Ben and the team he has been
withdrawn," said Thorpe.
"It is not career threatening and so that does not mean he needs surgery but that may be an option further down the track.
"We just don't know whether he will be right in two weeks
time or two months time."
Blair had complained of a sore neck after training and had a
scan on Friday, which confirmed the injury, though Thorpe said
they were unsure if it was a new or old injury.
Thorpe said the team had sought the advice of two New Zealand specialists who had been attending a spinal injury conference in Adelaide, and they also recommended Blair was withdrawn.
"He is disappointed. (But) we he was pretty well prepared for it," said Thorpe.
The news is a bitter blow for the All Blacks, who have suffered a series of disruptive injuries.
Centre Tana Umaga seems unlikely to play any further part in the tournament after injuring his cruciate ligament.
But Aaron Mauger (groin) , Joe Rokocoko (hamstring) and Ali Williams (jaw) are all said to be "progressing well".