The season is over for wing Cory Jane and hooker Nathan Harris, who will return home from the All Blacks’ tour because of injury.
Both were forced off the field in the first half of Saturday’s 74-6 humbling of the United States in Chicago.
Their replacements won’t be confirmed until the squad arrive in London on Monday ahead of their Test against England at Twickenham.
Harris suffered his ankle injury in the fifth minute, shortly after having scored their opening try to celebrate his first Test start.
It was hoped the injury wasn’t serious but the 22-year-old learned on Sunday he had torn medial ligaments which will take six weeks to heal.
Jane suffered a grade one hamstring injury after half an hour, pulling up while on the burst in open space.
Coach Steve Hansen says while the injury may have cleared in time to play the final tour Test against Wales on November 22, it wasn’t worth taking the risk he could re-damage it.
Hansen indicated 31-year-old Hurricanes flyer Jane remains strongly in contention for a World Cup spot next year.
“It’s not that big a setback really. We know he’s a world class player and he’s shown us that throughout the season at times,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of coming back and playing a good Super season. He’ll be a pretty hard man to leave out of the squad again.”
Hansen feels for two-Test rake Harris, 22, who was starting to settle well in his first season in the top flight.
His departure opens the door for another youngster in a position lacking depth behind Dane Coles and veteran Keven Mealamu.
“Sometimes when you’re forced to go to the well, you find a gem. Hopefully we find a gem.”
Rhys Marshall and Liam Coltman have previously taken part in an All Blacks hooker “apprentice” programme, training with the squad ahead of Tests.
They could have the front-running although another uncapped hooker, seasoned Blues rake James Parsons, is in London following his involvement in the Barbarians international against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
Two New Zealand wingers in the Barbarians squad, Frank Halai and Patrick Osborne, have the inside running to replace Jane.
Halai played his only Test last year against Japan but has fallen out of favour this year.
Osborne was called into the squad as injury cover midway through the home series against England in June.
“There’s potential replacements all over the place, to be fair. It’s just a matter of who we choose,” Hansen said.