New Zealand have been dealt a blow before the Bledisloe Cup as hooker Nathan Harris has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
The injury paves the way for Dane Coles to return to the squad for Saturday's clash with the Wallabies in Sydney, despite the Hurricanes star having hardly featured in their Super Rugby Finals success due to broken ribs.
Coles had been expected to be rested for the ANZ Stadium clash, but he will return to the bench, with coach Steve Hansen prepared to play him for the whole Rugby Championship fixture if new starter Codie Taylor comes off early.
"Looks like he'll be out for the season," Hansen said of Harris.
Turning his attention to Coles, Hansen explained: "If something happened in the first minute he'll get the 80 no problem.
"The reason we didn't play him was because of the type of injury he's got.
"They tend to niggle on so we thought if we could give him an extra week we wouldn't have that problem.
"But now we don't have that luxury so out he goes when the time comes."