Highly-rated Chiefs centre Robbie Fruean is to miss two months of rugby as he undergoes surgery on a persistent heart condition.
The Waikato-based franchise were forced to cut the 25-year-old from their 27-man squad to tour Australia and South Africa, as the Fruean - who has twice undergone open-heart surgery - prepares for an operation to restore his heart's rhythm to normal.
"Robbie Fruean will be having an ablation procedure for an arrhythmia and will remain in New Zealand," said the club in a statement.
"The expectation around his return to play is four to eight weeks."
Fruean, who signed for the Chiefs this year, has a heart condition arising from a bout of rheumatic fever. The Kiwi's first surgery was in 2009, before another operation to replace a valve in his heart cut short his Crusaders season last year.
"We're more concerned about him as the individual and he's more concerned about the team and not letting the team down," said Chiefs boss Dave Rennie.
"So ultimately it's best that he gets this done and then we get an all clear for him to return.
"Certainly the specialists and everyone are confident he will make a good return."