All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock has been scratched from the Crusaders' team to play the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday due to a hamstring injury.
Whitelock suffered the injury during his team's 29-10 victory over the Waratahs in Christchurch at the weekend, and could be in a race against time to be ready for the All Blacks' first test against Wales in Auckland on June 11.
Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar confirmed the injury to the media today. Fortunately for the Crusaders, they have plenty of cover at lock, with Scott Barrett and Jimmy Tupou capable of joining All Black Luke Romano in the second row.
Whitelock's injury might play into the hands of Blues' counterpart Patrick Tuipulotu, ruled out of the World Cup last year due to a hip injury, and hoping to make the All Blacks squad for the three-test Wales series.
The Blues celebrated their second away win of their season last weekend when beating the Force 17-13 in Perth. They arrived home early yesterday morning (Monday) and will have an easier training week ahead of their clash against the Crusaders, to whom they lost 28-13 in round two in Christchurch this season.
Meanwhile, blindside flanker Jordan Taufua has re-committed to the Crusaders until the end of 2018.