All Blacks coach Steve Hansen must seek out previously untapped talent for the end‑of‑season tour after first choice openside flanker Sam Cane broke a bone in his neck.
Cane collided with Francois Louw late in the first half in the narrow win over South Africa in Pretoria and was replaced by Ardie Savea who scored the last‑minute try that gave the All Blacks a comeback 32‑30 victory.
26‑year‑old Cane was visibly in pain and the All Blacks later said he had suffered a fracture in one of his neck vertebrae although there was no nerve damage.
Cane was expected to be out of action for at least three months, but Hansen said they would not hurry his return to the field with an eye on next year's Rugby World Cup.
Cane's absence from the end‑of‑year tour will test Hansen's depth in the number seven jersey, with Savea expected to become the starter after a superb performance against the Springboks.
The All Blacks face Australia in the third Bledisloe Cup clash in Yokohama on October 27th before they face Japan on November 3rd in Tokyo.
They then meet England at Twickenham on November 10th.
Hansen said a large group of players would then head to London after the Wallabies test, with the remainder staying behind to prepare for the Japan match.
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