Hurricanes first five-eighth Beauden Barrett is the latest All Blacks pivot to be struck down by injury in an important year for New Zealand rugby.
Barrett sustained a knee injury with 10 minutes left to play in his side's 29-23 win over the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium last night.
Incumbent All Blacks first five-eighth Aaron Cruden suffered a season-ending ending knee injury playing for the Chiefs a fortnight ago.
The situation shows shades of 2011 when the All Blacks won the World Cup with its fourth string first five-eighth Stephen Donald.
However, despite Barrett's injury, the Hurricanes grabbed their ninth win from 10 matches this season with the win over the Crusaders cementing their spot at the top of the Super Rugby table.
It was an electric game of rugby in which the Hurricanes showed stoic defence and excellent counter-attacking to outplay a Crusaders side lacking punch.
Blindside flanker Brad Shields was in sublime form with ball in hand and Nehe Milner-Skudder continued to build his reputation as one of the best fullbacks in the country.
Shields' opposite Jordan Taufua was one of the best for the Crusaders while Colin Slade stamped his mark as the best first-five going around with two clean breaks that led to tries.
HURRICANES 29 (Beauden Barrett, Reggie Goodes, Brad Shields, Blade Thomson tries; Barrett 3 cons, pen) beat CRUSADERS 23 (Daniel Carter, Colin Slade tries; Slade 2 cons, 3 pens). Halftime 17-17.