Is New Zealand suffering a World Cup curse? The men who returned from England with gold are dropping at an alarming rate from their Super Rugby teams. Heading into the fifth round, we check out the sidelined World Cup players.

Brodie Retallick

The big man is no longer motoring all over the field after breaking his ribs against the Lions three weeks ago. Retallick revealed that the pain is triggered when he laughs. Due to return in about a month's time.

Nehe Milner-Skudder

The find of 2015 is out for this Super Rugby season after dislocating his left shoulder against the Blues and requiring reconstructive surgery. Sees himself as potential Hurricanes waterboy in the meantime.

Waisake Naholo

Super Rugby's top try scorer in 2015 has busted the same leg which caused such a World Cup hoo-ha last year, and will be out for another six weeks or so. Will that leg ever come right?


Julian Savea

The giant wing has been briefly bladed by the Hurricanes - while not officially dropped, Savea's fitness has been questioned and not for the first time in his career. His absence leaves Ben Smith as the last World Cup outside back standing.

Jerome Kaino

Started the year with a suspension for punching his fellow gold medallist Pauliasi Manu, and now he's sidelined for a month with a shoulder injury suffered during a shock draw with the Reds.

Pauliasi Manu

Speaking of Manu - he is also out for the Super season with a ruptured Achilles tendon which occurred while he was jogging at training. Will he ever get to wear a black jersey or remain forever a trivial pursuit question.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow

The Chiefs halfback, who played nine minutes in the World Cup final, suffered a head injury in the side's win over the Jaguares last weekend and misses tomorrow's clash with the Force.

Sonny Bill Williams

The Olympic sevens hopeful has been laid low by an "irritable knee" not helped by having to fly back from Las Vegas in Cattle Class.

Victor Vito

The France-bound loosie misses the Hurricanes' match against the Southern Kings with a calf strain.

As for the official 2015 World Cup backups...
Chiefs prop Nepo Laulala (knee) is out for the year, Hurricanes lock James Broadhurst's career is in doubt over concussion issues, and longtime test back Israel Dagg (shoulder) has yet to take the field for the Crusaders.