Charlie Faumuina's World Cup hopes have taken another blow after he suffered a concussion in training with Auckland.
The Blues tighthead has been out of action in recent weeks because of a nerve problem in his neck, and had seen his hopes of making the All Blacks squad diminish as a result.
But he was hoping to stake a claim in the ITM Cup, in a bid to earn the second tighthead spot in the squad.
However the 28-year-old was knocked out and concussed after a collision with teammate Taleni Seu late in training, and will miss this week's clash with Taranaki.
"We were doing a defence drill and he had a collision with Taleni Seu who came on the blindside flank against Southland," coach Paul Feeney told the New Zealand Herald.
"They were going for the same ball and they both got concussed, it was just a freak accident five minutes from the end of the session."
Faumuina hopes to return for the following fixture, against Canterbury, next weekend, the day before the All Black World Cup squad is announced.
Having established himself as the number two tighthead in New Zealand behind Owen Franks, Faumuina now finds himself under massive pressure from Nepo Laulala after his impressive performances off the bench for the All Blacks.