The All Blacks have opted for direct first-five cover in replacing Dan Carter for the Rugby Championship.

Crusaders team-mate Colin Slade has been given the call-up, having been in the squad for the England series before Carter's return.

Carter is expected to need four weeks to recover from a small crack in his upper fibula, suffered during last weekend's Super Rugby final loss to the Waratahs in Sydney. He will miss at least the first two Bledisloe Cup tests.