Sam Warburton is expected to be given three warm‑up games to prove his fitness to face the All Blacks after being told by medical staff he cannot play for Cardiff Blues again this season.
The 28‑year‑old Wales flanker, who could become only the third player in history to captain the British & Irish Lions in successive series when they take on the world champions next month, suffered a knee ligament strain playing for the Blues against Ulster in April.
Lions coach Warren Gatland named Warburton as his tour captain a week later, despite fears over his fitness.
It was hoped early on that Warburton could feature for the Blues in their end‑of‑season play‑off push for a place in the Champions Cup.
The flanker's injury has been closely monitored by Wales and Lions head of medicine, with Warburton understood to have been eager to play for the Blues before leaving for New Zealand at the end of this month.
Source: NZHeraldListen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.