All Blacks captain Sam Cane is to miss the remainder of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season and a chunk of the All Blacks campaign after suffering a pectoral injury while playing for the Chiefs against the Blues last weekend.
Scans and specialist examination have revealed a tear in Cane's right pectoral tendon, and he will undergo surgery next Friday.
He is expected to be out for four to six months, ruling him out of a significant part of the All Blacks season.
"I'm obviously disappointed but also really positive that it's an easy fix," said Cane.
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"I'm looking forward to getting into some rehab post-surgery and doing that really well, so I am coming back in good shape for the end of the rugby season, whatever rugby that maybe."
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said Cane still has a role to play despite being sidelined.
"We are all disappointed for Sam, but we have full faith in the medical team around him and we wish him well for his surgery and rehabilitation.
"As All Blacks captain, he will still play a key role in our planning for the 2021 season, and we look forward to him returning to the footy field once his rehab is complete."
The All Blacks are set to start their season in July – Covid-19 permitting – with Italy scheduled to visit New Zealand for two tests and Fiji for a one-off showdown.
Cane's injury could see Ardie Savea slot into the No 7 jersey, while Sam Whitelock is the likely front-runner to assume captaincy duties in Cane's absence.